Cannabis production, processing, and sale have been made legal in Oregon and California in recent years as long as individuals involved follow the rules and regulations set forth by their respective states. Despite the fact that many have done so, with Oregon, in particular, reaping a huge tax windfall, some growers have remained defiant.
It is up to local authorities and federal agents to eradicate the state’s industrial-scale illegal marijuana growing activities. Law enforcement officers in southern Oregon claim that the situation has worsened recently. The authorities allege that international gangs began building up hundreds of unlawful marijuana growing enterprises in the spring of last year, maybe realizing that local law enforcement was overburdened.
The Emerald Triangle is no longer the only place where marijuana is grown in California. Authorities believe the 373,000 plants seized in July of 2021, the most ever in Los Angeles County, were worth $1 billion if they had been sold on the black market. Thirty-one people were arrested and more than 15,000 pounds (14,969 kg) of marijuana were seized during a raid in Southern California’s Antelope Valley. Only a small percentage of the illicit growing activities were found in the region, authorities claimed.
Coronavirus pandemic, according to government officials, has exacerbated an already large problem. The illegal marijuana market in California is being undermined by armed cartel members who operate vast growing operations, some covering dozens of greenhouses. Illegal growers are diverting water from farmers and homeowners in the U.S. West during a megadrought, depriving them of the increasingly valuable resource.
Since Prop. 64, there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of illegal marijuana on the market. Criminal gangs from Mexico, China, Russia, Armenia, and Laos operate many of the illegal grow operations. Residents and off-roaders are urged not to venture into illicit farmland by authorities, who say they lack the means to pursue all of them. The trafficking of synthetic opioids is also a major worry, they add. Migrants who have been illegally brought across the US-Mexico border are working at pot fields to pay their costs, according to law enforcement agents. The state and federal attorneys generals of California have been urged to intervene by politicians.