L.A. Brings Down the Hammer on Unlicensed Pot Shops

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and members of the city’s police department announced a colossal sweep of illegal cannabis businesses operating within the city Wednesday. More than 160 people have been arrested and 36 criminal cases filed as part of the operation. 6,200 pounds of illegal cannabis have been seized along with 29 guns and over $300,000 since January when the operation began. And that may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Feuer has made no bones about his intention go after the city’s illicit pot industry.

“If you’re operating an illegal cannabis shop and selling recreational marijuana, you’re going to be subject to prosecution,” he warned.

In South L.A., where one-third of the busted shops were located, residents said they had been complaining for years. But it isn’t just neighbors bearing the brunt of the illegal activity anymore. The legal cannabis industry continues to struggle in competition with an unchecked black market. Law enforcement estimates that there are at least two times the number of illegal dispensaries as licensed ones. That’s an unsustainable formula.

“You can’t have a regulated industry without strong enforcement,” notes Adam Spiker, executive director of the Southern California Coalition.

Today, the message is clear: enforcement is here and it is robust.

“If you’re not licensed,” said Spiker “you should shut down or be shut down.”

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - 17:31

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