EAST LOS ANGELES, CA (FOX 11) – It’s been five months since the sale of recreational marijuana became legal in California, but an undercover FOX 11 investigation found that an alarming number of illegal dispensaries continue to operate without consequence.
Many of them are located in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, where marijuana dispensaries are banned and there are no licenses.
These illegal dispensaries are unregulated, untested, they don’t pay taxes on the marijuana they sell, and their product can potentially be full of pesticides, mold, and fungus.
FOX 11 went undercover to 25Cap, one of many illegal cannabis dispensaries in unincorporated LA county. It’s located at 4728 Whittier Blvd. in east Los Angeles.
25Cap had the product organized and laid out on shelves. Various different types and amount of pot, including Indica, edibles, and private reserve, but none of it is allowed to be sold there.
Under California law, during legal transactions at licensed dispensaries, only up to one ounce of cannabis can be sold or purchased, but 25Cap offered to sell FOX 11 sixteen times that amount.
“I mean, we go up to a pound,” an employee said. “We don’t limit how much you spend, it depends on how much you want.”
The employee said the price for a pound would be $1,500.
25Cap never responded to FOX 11’s requests for comment, so we stopped by the dispensary in person.
An employee shut a window in the face of a FOX 11 reporter when he asked if there was anyone in charge we could speak to, and they declined to comment.
“It’s amazing to me that they don’t follow any state laws or regulations, they violate everything that they know is out there already with prop 64,” said Brian Blatz, the CEO of Verdant Distribution , one of the largest legal cannabis distribution companies in Southern California.
FOX 11 showed Blatz our undercover video, and he was shocked by what he saw.
“They’re selling pounds of cannabis, they know that’s gonna be resold into a secondary market with people that aren’t gonna be concerned about the ages of the people they’re selling it to,” Blatz said.
He told FOX 11 that people are attracted to illegal pot dispensaries like 25Cap because their sales aren’t taxed by the state. That means the product is sold much cheaper, sometimes up to a fifty percent discount from what you would buy at a licensed dispensary, but it comes with a risk.
“I think the most important thing for the general public to understand is by shopping at any illegal dispensary, you’re 100% guaranteed to get products that are untested and are filled with pesticides, chemicals, fungus, and mold,” Blatz said.
Records show that LA county currently has a civil case against 25Cap’s owner for violating LA county code and unlawful business practices.
This was after the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department made an undercover purchase of marijuana from the dispensary in March 2017.
The case was filed in June 2017, and almost a year later, nothing has happened, and 25Cap is still up and running.
“You know, when you take a look at this [undercover] videotape, you realize there are no rules,” said Bob Lindsey, a former LASD commander who is now running to be the next LA county sheriff. He’s been sounding the alarm about illegal marijuana dispensaries in the county.
“There are no regulations in there,” he said. “[The employee] is willing to go ahead and sell up to a pound. That’s not medical use, that’s not personal use. This is a danger to the entire community.”
Captain Hollly Francisco with LASD told FOX 11 that despite frustrations with the system, their deputies work hard to crack down on illegal dispensaries.
“We have to allow the court system to play out, we can’t control that,” she said. “Just since January we’ve served 30 warrants in the unincorporated area of LA county, arrested approximately 60 people, recovered over 200 pounds of marijuana, it’s just a system.”
In the meantime, Los Angeles County leaders remain concerned.
To Read The Rest Of This Article By Bill Melugin on Fox 5 Atlanta
Published: June 4, 2018
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News