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How Yelp Boosts Black Market Pot Shops

Police descend on a suspected unlicensed marijuana shop in Los Angeles.NBC News

The little shop on West Jefferson Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles is easy to overlook. It sits on a bustling corner, in a storefront with no windows and a crude poster for a sign.

“A remodel would be great,” one person wrote on Yelp.

The shop, University 20 Cap, has a reason to avoid drawing attention to itself — it’s an unlicensed marijuana dispensary. The black market operation sells, among other products, bootleg THC vape pens linked to the rash of severe lung illnesses plaguing the country.

And yet, there it is, listed on Yelp as if it were just another Italian restaurant or craft store.

“I really love the vibes at this place but it is usually a wait to go in,” one reviewer wrote.

“They have a rude security guard,” wrote another.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Conor Ferguson, Cynthia McFadden and Rich Schapiro on NBC News

Published: February 10, 2020

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