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2022-2024 News Releases

California seizes over $312M in unlicensed cannabis during task force’s first calendar year of operation
  • January 16, 2024
2023 Cannabis Enforcement Number Graphic

UCETF has seized over $317M of illegal cannabis and 128 firearms since its inception

CALIFORNIA – Continuing to protect public safety, safeguard natural resources, and advance the integrity of the licensed cannabis market, the Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce (UCETF) seized more than $312 million in unlicensed cannabis during its first calendar year of operation.

Among the highlights from the operations in 2023 was the seizure of almost 190,000 pounds of illegal cannabis, the eradication of almost 318,000 plants and the seizure of 119 illegally-possessed firearms.

“California is effectively decreasing the illegal cannabis market by leveraging the strengths and knowledge of over 20 state agencies and departments alongside our local and federal partners. The UCETF’s progress in 2023 reflects California’s ongoing commitment to disrupting and dismantling illegal cannabis activity,” stated Director Nicole Elliott of Department of Cannabis Control. “I look forward to working with all our partners in 2024 to build on this progress.”

“Since its inception in late 2022, California’s Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce has hit the ground running with year-round operations that spanned from the Oregon state line all the way down to San Diego,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “We’ve sent a strong message that illegal operations that harm our natural resources, threaten the safety of workers, and put consumer health at risk have no place in California. While there is more work to be done, we made progress last year and I look forward to going further alongside our county, state, and federal partners.”

The results of UCETF’s FY 2023 and Q4 2023 enforcement actions are:

UCETF Operations Q4 2023 CY 2023
Search Warrants Served 24 188
Pounds of Cannabis Seized 13,393.65 189,854.02
Retail Value of Cannabis Products Seized $22,294,571.41 $312,880,014.35
Cannabis Plants Eradicated 20,320 317,834
Firearms Seized 26 119
Money Seized $35,195.25 $223,809

In addition to releasing the Q4 and yearly totals for 2023, the taskforce announced the top 5 counties for enforcement activity (according to value of cannabis seized) in calendar year 2023. They are:

County Value of Cannabis Seized
Alameda $77,828,338.50
Siskiyou $70,747,875.00
Mendocino $48,073,113.00
Los Angeles $28,317,139.69
Kern $21,578,438.25

Since inception, UCETF has seized $317,578,792.29 in unlicensed cannabis through 218 search warrants. The taskforce has also eradicated 347,321 plants and seized 128 firearms.

Created by Governor Newsom in 2022, the Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce has been charged by the Governor to further align state efforts and increase cannabis enforcement coordination between state, local and federal partners. UCETF’s enforcement actions protect consumer and public safety, safeguard the environment, and deprive illegal cannabis operators and transnational criminal organizations of illicit revenue that harms consumers and undercuts the regulated cannabis market in California.

The taskforce is co-chaired by the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and coordinated by the Homeland Security Division of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). The taskforce includes more than two dozen local, state, and federal partners working together to disrupt the illegal cannabis market.


Media Contacts:
David Hafner, DCC Communications,
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 207-7891

Categories: Cannabis, Law Enforcement

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