On May 22nd, 2023

California’s Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce Seized More Than $52 Million Worth of Unlicensed Cannabis Products in First Three Months of 2023

“There is an astounding amount of illegal cannabis activity in California which law enforcement officers must investigate for numerous reasons including protecting our state’s economy and licensed cannabis operations, as well as public and consumer safety.  It can be dangerous work serving these search warrants and we applaud the brave actions of the officers who do.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona

SACRAMENTO –On May 22, 2023 the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) announced that the Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce (UCETF) seized more than $52 million in unlicensed cannabis and cannabis products from January 1, 2023 through March 30, 2023.

By targeting larger cultivation operations, UCETF improved its quarter-over-quarter results despite serving 30 percent fewer search warrants.

UCETF is supporting the legal cannabis market by investigating illegal grow sites as well as shutting down illegal manufacturing, distribution, and retail operations. By working closely with state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies, 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 undercuts the regulated cannabis market in California.

“As the DCC Law Enforcement Division focuses on illegal indoor cultivations, unlicensed dispensaries, and unlicensed manufacturing and distribution operations, the multi-agency, cross-jurisdictional approach of UCETF allows us to leverage the expertise of each participating department to disrupt a broader scope of illegal businesses,” stated Bill Jones, Chief of the Law Enforcement Division for DCC. “Significantly improving our results speaks to our effectiveness and will help support the legal cannabis market.”

“This multiagency task force has hit the ground running, allowing partners with the opportunity to contribute to their area of expertise. UCETF has quickly made an impact on the illegal cannabis supply chain, which in turn is helping the regulated market succeed,” said David Bess, Chief of Enforcement for California Department of Fish & Wildlife. “The gains and successes made by the task force speak directly to the efficiency and dedication of this multiagency collaboration and we expect to see this type of continued success throughout the year as UCEFT moves into outdoor cultivation enforcement season.”

To date UCETF has seized $84,652,875 in unlicensed cannabis through the serving of 51 search warrants. The taskforce has also eradicated 82,216 plants and seized 13 firearms.

Created in 2022, the Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce has been charged by the Governor to better align state efforts and increase cannabis enforcement coordination between state, local and federal partners. 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 Cal OES. The taskforce includes more than two dozen local, state, and federal partners working together to disrupt the illegal cannabis market.


UCETF Operations Q4 2022 Q1 2023 Percentage Change
Search Warrants Served 30 21 -30%
Pounds of Cannabis Seized 19,401.73 31,912 39%
Retail Value of Cannabis Products Seized $32,012,854.50 $52,644,020.50 39%
Cannabis Plants Eradicated 29,687 52,529 43%
Firearms Seized 9 4 -44%
Money Seized $12,602 $95,646 87%


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