Hun­dreds of il­le­gal pot shops op­er­ate in City of LA

Manteca Bulletin - - Local/ State -

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.

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.

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 pot shop in Pa­co­mia. The store ini­tially had a sign out­side ad­ver­tis­ing that it sold med­i­cal mar­i­juana.


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