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2022-2024 News Releases

California’s Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce Seizes $53M Worth of Unlicensed Cannabis
  • April 11, 2024

Reinforcing California’s commitment to supporting legal cannabis operators and dismantling the illegal market, the Governor’s Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce (UCETF) seized more than $53,620,600 million in illegal cannabis in the first quarter of this calendar year. Other enforcement highlights from the period of January 1, 2024, through March 31, 2024, includes:

  • 31,866 pounds of unlicensed cannabis seized
  • 54,137 unlicensed cannabis plants eradicated
  • $34,858 in cash seized
  • 11 firearms seized
  • 4 arrests

“California is home to the largest legal cannabis market in the world,” said Governor Newsom. “As we continue to cultivate a legal marketplace, we're taking aggressive action to crack down on those still operating in the shadows—shutting down illegal operations linked to organized crime, human trafficking, and the proliferation of illegal products that harm the environment and public health.”

“UCETF continues to strengthen its momentum by focusing on priority targets and strategically removing operations having a significant impact on the illegal cannabis supply chain,” said Nathaniel Arnold, Acting Chief of the CDFW Law Enforcement Division. “We are utilizing all the available resources from our partner agencies and are committed more than ever to providing public safety, protecting the environment, and helping the regulated market succeed and thrive.”

“A key to UCETF’s success is a collaborative approach relying on intelligence gathering, targeted investigations and leveraging the expertise of our members,” said Bill Jones, Chief of the Law Enforcement Division for DCC. “The Taskforce continues to play a crucial role in protecting the legal cannabis market while eliminating the often-dangerous activities associated with unlicensed cannabis operations.”

The following state agencies and departments participated in UCETF operations during Q1 2024: Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Department of Cannabis Control, Employment Development Department, Department of Fish and Wildlife, California National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, California State Parks, and the Department of Tax and Fee Administration. In addition, multiple federal and local partners assisted with enforcement operations during the first quarter of 2024.

A total of 18 search warrants were served during Q1 2024 in the following counties:

  • Alameda (2)
  • Fresno (1)
  • Kern (5)
  • Los Angeles (1)
  • Riverside (2)
  • San Joaquin (1)
  • Orange County (6)

Since inception, UCETF has seized $371,199,431 in unlicensed cannabis through 236 search warrants. The taskforce has also eradicated 401,458 plants and seized 139 firearms.

Created by Governor Newsom in 2022, the Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce has been charged 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.

The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) licenses and regulates commercial cannabis activity within California. DCC works closely with all stakeholders, including businesses and local jurisdictions, to create a sustainable legal cannabis industry and a safe and equitable marketplace. DCC develops and implements progressive cannabis policies with robust protections for public health, safety, and the environment.

To learn more about the California cannabis market, state licenses and laws, visit


Media Contacts:
David Hafner, DCC Communications, 916-883-9693
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, 916- 207-7891

Categories: Cannabis, Law Enforcement

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