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Cannabis industry wants L.A. to crack down on illegal pot shops

A marijuana dispensary in the Los Angeles’ Wilmington neighborhood. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The legal marijuana industry urged Los Angeles City Hall on Monday to get tougher with illegal shops that are gouging their businesses in open sight.

Illegal pot shops are widespread throughout Los Angeles and typically look like the real thing. And they’re thriving — they sell cheaper products than their legal rivals because they don’t charge hefty state and local taxes.

In a letter Monday, the industry group Southern California Coalition recommended the city consider seizing cannabis inventory and cash from illegal shops that are found to be selling tainted products.

In the legal market, marijuana, concentrates, cookies and other products must be tested by independent labs for consumer safety — a requirement that illegal shops can ignore.

The group said that because the government does not seize cash and pot products from illegal shops after raids, the businesses can quickly reopen.

With no testing safeguards in place in the illegal market, “there’s a high probability the cannabis products in these shops are contaminated,” the group wrote. It urged the city “in the strongest possible terms to continue testing cannabis in unlicensed shops.”

California’s effort to transform its longstanding illegal and medicinal marijuana markets into a unified, multibillion-dollar industry kicked off last year. But the transition has been uneven, and it’s likely to take years for the legal market to find its footing.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Associated Press on Los Angeles Times
Published: June 10, 2019
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