Refresh Checked Unchecked Menu Search Shopping bag Geolocation Person Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube Info Icon CBC Icon CBC Shape CBD Icon CBD Shape CBG Icon CBG Shape THC Icon THC Shape THCV Icon THCV Shape Loading…
Advertise on Leafly
Current location

Share your location to get the most relevant content and products around you. Leafly keeps personal information safe, secure, and anonymous.

Police Say Hundreds of Illegal Cannabis Shops Operate in LA

February 15, 2018
Image Test
Los Angeles Police Capt. Stephen Carmona, right, speaks at a news conference about cannabis enforcement in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Los Angeles has issued licenses to nearly 100 cannabis retailers, but police estimate there are at least two to three times that number operating illegally in the city. Capt. Carmona said Wednesday that police have shut down eight illegal marijuana shops since Jan. 1, 2018. (Mike Balsamo/AP)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles has issued licenses to nearly 100 marijuana retailers but police estimate there are at least two times that number operating illegally in the city and undercutting those who are playing by the rules.

Police have shut down eight illegal marijuana shops since Jan. 1, a pace that is unlikely to intensify as the department is focused on curbing violent crimes.

Related

In LA, Legal Cannabis Stores Call for Crackdown on Illegal Pop-Ups

At least 35 people were arrested during the eight raids, including four people who were taken into custody last week, said Capt. Stephen Carmona. Most of the illegal shops were operating in plain sight — out of storefronts in busy neighborhoods, he said.

“We do have ongoing challenges with unauthorized establishments —unlawful and illegal clandestine operations — that are out operating either under the guise of medical marijuana or operating as unlawful and illegal cannabis sales (shops) throughout the city,” Deputy Chief John Sherman said.

So far, only 99 businesses have been issued licenses to sell adult-use, recreational cannabis in Los Angeles. But police estimate between 200 and 300 illegal cannabis shops are operating within the city, Sherman said.

Related

California Goes Legal: Updated List of Open Adult-Use Stores

A report from the city’s controller in June estimated there were more than 1,700 legal and illegal dispensaries.

Four people were arrested last Wednesday when officers raided a cannabis shop in Pacomia. The store initially had a sign outside advertising that it sold medical marijuana. It was later removed and customers were told to come in through a back door, Sherman said.

When police raided the shop, an unlicensed, armed security guard was standing watch inside and officers seized three guns, including one that was stolen within the past two months, he said.

Police will continue to identify such locations, Sherman said at a news conference Wednesday.

Related

Will Cannabis Delivery Survive in California’s Legal Market?

“The tracking of these establishments is very difficult because No. 1, we don’t know where they all are all the time, they move frequently, if they can get rent somewhere and move in somewhere, they can pop up somewhere else the next day,” he said.

Because investigations can often be lengthy, police are prioritizing the targeting of shops that are causing crime in an area and generating complaints from the community.

“The nature of serving a search warrant on one of these establishments is just very lengthy,” Sherman said. “Keep in mind this is not the only problem that the police stations or the area captains are working on.”

The Associated Press's Bio Image

The Associated Press

The AP is one of the world's largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering.

View The Associated Press's articles