How has legalizing marijuana impacted illegal pot grows?

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California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced a spike in arrests for illegal marijuana grows Monday.

During the statewide raids this year, officials arrested 148 people, seized 168 weapons and 950,000 plants from 345 raided grow sites. In total, 25 tons of processed marijuana were recovered.

The AG’s office said those figures increased from 2018. The Department of Justice said its Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP), is the largest illegal marijuana grow eradication program in the country. CAMP is a special state and federal partnership under the department of justice.

With arrests on the rise, CBS13 looked into how legalizing marijuana has impacted illegal pot grows.

California has its own state agency that regulates marijuana grows — the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW). Their seizures from illegal grows more than doubled when recreational pot became legal.

The DFW seized more than 1.5 million “illegally grown” cannabis plants in 2018, the first year it was legal. In 2017, DFW seized just 700,000 plants.

The state primarily focuses on shutting down illegal grows that are either on public land or those on private land when the grows may have a negative environmental impact.

For the attorney general’s arrests and seizures, they may have increased this year, but they were actually much higher when marijuana was illegal. Becerra’s office said that it has nothing to do with the law, but it’s more about state and federal resources.

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