FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A new state crackdown on illegal cannabis sales across California is starting in Fresno.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta says the illegal cannabis trade has cut into the taxes state and local governments make from legal dispensaries – and a new partnership between the state and the City of Fresno (the first of its kind) will “target greedy individuals profiting off illegal businesses.”

“It is historic, it is important, it is impactful,” said Bonta about the new program during its official launch on Tuesday.

Bonta announced the Department of Justice’s creation of CAPP, the Cannabis Administrative Prosecutor Program, and that Fresno was the first partner to sign on.

“Hit them where it really hurts – in their wallet and their pocketbook,” said Bonta.

Bonta says the CAPP program focuses on protecting the environment, workers, and public safety from the impacts of illegal cannabis activity through administrative enforcement.

“We have the largest, safe, legal, and regulated cannabis market in the entire world. Despite that, illegal, unlicensed cannabis activities continue, unfortunately, to flourish in California. There is more illegal and illicit activity than there is legal activity in the state of California and that set of circumstances, that status quo is unacceptable and it must change and it will change through action,” said Bonta.

Bonta added that the main goal in Fresno of CAPP is to target unregulated smoke shops, tobacco shops, and hookah lounges officials believe are a supplier of black market products.

The program will also provide officials with resources to be more aggressive and fine those businesses and property owners and if it comes to it completely shut them down.

Bonta added that California is known throughout the country as a leader in the world of cannabis as California was the first state to establish a medicinal marijuana program back in 1996 – and the fifth state to legalize adult-use cannabis in 2016.