Last year the state of California produced 13.5 million pounds of marijuana, but residents only consumed 2.5 million pounds of it. Most of the state's cannabis ended up being sold to other states, including those where it is illegal. Now experts say that excess marijuana could be a problem as the state prepares to legalize recreational marijuana.
Several politicians spoke to the Los Angeles Times about their fears of a federal crackdown if the state continues to export large quantities of marijuana.
“If we want to avoid intervention from the federal government, we need to do everything we can to crack down on illegal activity and prevent cannabis from being exported out of state,” Assemblyman Tom Lackey told the newspaper.
California exporting large quantities of marijuana has become an issue in recent months. First the Food and Drug Administration discovered the large discrepancy between how much cannabis the state grows versus how much it consumes. Then the state government began to work on figuring out regulations to prevent legal marijuana growers in California from selling their products in places where it's still illegal. Now law enforcement officers in places like Texas have expressed their concern about large quantities of illegal marijuana being seized in their state originating from California.
All of these factors have led to fears that the federal government may become more involved in California's marijuana market if the illegal exports are not slowed down significantly.
"I think you will see the DEA get a lot more aggressive," said Melvin Patterson, a spokesman for the DEA.
Considering Attorney General Jeff Sessions' previous statements condoning of a federal crackdown on legal marijuana, the illegal exports from California may give the Justice Department the justification to do so.
“If the feds see a serious export problem ... they might feel that whatever we are doing in California is not enough,” said Assemblyman Ken Cooley.
So either Californians need to start growing less marijuana, or they need to start smoking a lot more.