Ever since January 2018, when recreational cannabis sales began in California, illegal growth continues to undermine and undercut legitimate businesses.
The appeal is easy to understand. The 1.11 million plants seized in 2020 have an estimated street value of about $1.77 billion. That $1.77 billion of seized illegally grown cannabis would make it the eighth most valued commodity in California agriculture — just below pistachios ($1.94 billion) and lettuce ($1.82 billion).
Established in 1983, the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting has had more than 110 law enforcement agencies involved in cracking down on illegal marijuana.
But it’s difficult to track licensed growth in the state. Data sets begin in 2019, when 12-month annual and provisional licenses began to be issued, using the online licensing systems (State license issuance began in 2018 but were issued as temporary so data isn’t available for that initial year). Licenses remain active for one year, at which point they can be renewed for an additional 12 months. This list displays counts of when the licenses were first issued, but not each time one was renewed.