CDFW News | CDFW Releases 2021 Cannabis Enforcement Figures

CDFW Releases 2021 Cannabis Enforcement Figures

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Cannabis Enforcement Program has released year-end numbers for calendar year 2021.

CDFW investigates illegal cannabis cultivation operations to uncover and limit operations that cause significant environmental damage. Some of the most serious environmental problems involve unauthorized streambed alterations with water diversions, habitat destruction, illegal pesticide use, and poaching. The CDFW does not typically investigate water theft, but will assist county law enforcement partners in such investigations as needed.

“Illegal operators attempting to circumvent the legal system pose a threat to California’s fish and wildlife resources, and a detriment to those who grow cannabis legally,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Division Chief. of law enforcement. “Our wildlife officers have done an exceptional job ensuring public safety alongside our federal, state and county partners and I couldn’t be prouder of their dedication and commitment to protecting the environment. Our year-end numbers are testament to all their hard work throughout the year.

Here are some of the notable achievements of the year:

  • 2.6 million illegal cannabis plants eradicated
  • 487,270 pounds. of illegal cannabis flowers destroyed
  • 1,125 search warrants served
  • 794 firearms seized
  • 32,230 pounds. of waste removed from the public domain
  • 404 illegal water diversions removed

*Figures reflect all operations where CDFW was either the lead agency or in a supporting role.

According to statistics from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) program, illegal cannabis cultivation continues to move away from public land operations toward private ownership. In 2018, the rate of illegal activity was around 80% on public land and 20% on private property. The number of illegal cannabis crops grown on public lands has continued to steadily decline over the past few years and in 2021, the DOJ’s CAMP program cited less than 30% of illegal cultivation activities on public lands.

Today, CDFW has 68 dedicated cannabis law enforcement officers who work with county, state, and federal partners to combat illegal cultivation activity.

CDFW encourages the public to report environmental crimes such as water pollution and poaching to the CalTIP hotline by calling (888) 334-2258 or texting information to “TIP411” (847411).


Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 207-7891

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