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Are raids on black market grows having an impact on the legal cannabis market?

Cannabis enforcement is happening all over and it’s an especially hot topic in places like California, where the legal market is booming and black market growers are brazenly growing next door to legal growers. Local enforcement divisions are using satellites to pin point the cannabis farms and ensure proper permitting. Those growers that lack proper permitting are cited and liens are often levied against the property until the illegal farms are dismantled. The growers are crying foul, and claiming the permitting structure has been a major barrier to entry. What are your thoughts?

How do you feel this is impacting the legal cannabis community? What do you think the raids mean for those of us that have our licenses and are trying to do things right? What do you think will come from the actions of cannabis enforcement?


It’s an obvious matter of legislative ineptitude as far as I’m concerned. Instead of punishing “black market” growers, there needs to be a better (not temporary permitting) solution to fast tracking applications and rectifying differences between state and local legislation. Legislators cannot blame black market growers for the discrepancy between expected and realized tax revenue, either, as these people clearly want to participate in the market.

The incentive to participate in the legal market should not be a motivation-by-fear approach. It has not worked for the entirety of the so-called war on drugs and it surely will not start working now.

If I had to guess, there is some serious money changing hands between large players and legislators in order to keep this process as convoluted as possible so that the smaller farms have absolutely no chance. Suppose that’s the case, then these police officers are really private security for large commercial interests (what’s new?).

While we’re at it California needs to offer priority application processing to the countless people (especially minorities) who were jailed, and are now watching as big business is coming in and raking in legal money for something they served time for.


I think that @vulx has some very good points @Growernick. Many of the growers I talk to that have been growing for decades do not have the opportunity to attain licensing due to the local ordinances. The county I live in is a dry county with the exception of two cities. At the state level, I think they could incentivize local municipalities to welcome cannabis businesses. We personally have friends who have businesses, family, property in some of these dry areas and they simply are forced to operate in the black market if they are to continue. It’s unfortunate.


Look for more crackdown on illegal grows in the future…the development of legal markets with strict quality assurances mandate it IMHO.

So many considerations including the loss of tax revenue with illegal grows…not to mention without mandatory testing, how long will it be before the industry is hit with a major health crisis because of illegitimate chemical usage???


This is an unfortunate turn of events for sure. There’s is a decided lack of equality when only a few individuals are able to attain licenses in a given area. What other choice do these growers have if they are simply unable to license their grows?

I suspect you are correct, @rflasch

What do you fear may happen?

Nick, my specific concern lies with primarily outdoor grows utilizing late season miticide sprays. I personally know of two grows (illegal) in the last three years that have applied late season sprays near harvest to control mite infestations. In only one case did I know the chemical used, it was a ag material with a 30 day pre harvest interval on ag crops! Since my sphere of contacts within the industry is rather limited, I suspect this occurs with some frequency. The other concern I have is plants treated with compost tea foliars….not a good idea from microbial residue standpoint. Great for application to the rhizosphere but not advisable to foliage IMHO.
Perhaps I’m mistaken, but without the necessity of lab certification, illegal growers are more apt to ‘push’ the limits when faced with devastating events.

Finally, how can we expect the development of legal growers to provide a quality product in the legalized market, if we continue to tolerate illegal growers whom wish to take advantage of that market without the additional cost and responsibility of licensing their grows…

From a historic perspective, I see a analogy in alcohol regulation over the years. Moonshiners prevailed early on in distilled beverages because they had always done it prior to regulatory intervention. Once legal distilleries were established they continued their trade because it ‘wasn’t fair’. Over a period of years the pressures of regulation and taxation eventually crushed them. Some of them did go legal and became profitable concerns. Keep in mind, over the years many people were sickened, blinded, or died from methanol poisoning or consumption of spirits with adulterated additives…JMHO


These all sound like legitimate concerns! I especially appreciate your drawing parallels between alcohol and cannabis prohibition. If history is your guide – as it is mine – I anticipate we will see more and more of the illegal growers either falling by the wayside or going legit. Time will tell.

Thanks for your insight, @rflasch!

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