While California may grow eight times the amount of cannabis state residents can consume, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration is dimming the brilliance of the Golden State’s illegal cannabis plants.
According to the DEA’s 2016 Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program Statistical Report, the agency seized nearly 5.35 million cannabis plants in the United States in 2016. With nearly 3.78 million of those cannabis plants coming from California, the Golden State accounted for 71% of total plants seized in America.
Beyond having the highest number of total plants seized, California also accounted for 70% of the country’s outdoor plants seized and 75% of indoor plants seized.
According to The Sacramento Bee, indoor plants may have only comprised 8% of all plants seized in the state, but it has been at least eight years since California has had an indoor plant seizure rate that high. Even with state and federal data, a DEA spokesperson in San Francisco was “unable to speculate” as to why there has been an increased rate of indoor cannabis plant seizures in California.
While the DEA’s statistical report may not give details as to why California’s illegal growers are moving indoors, the agency’s National Drug Threat Assessment Summary from November 2016 attributes growers moving indoors to a need to evade detection and increase production.
According to the report, “Indoor production is more difficult for law enforcement to discover and has the advantage of not having to rely on climate conditions or growing seasons.”