In the heat of the tension that has arisen due to agitations from legislators and legal cannabis dealers about the increasing presence of illegal weed sellers, Los Angeles has mandated the crackdown of illicit pot stores. Nevertheless, due to the enormous returns on this business, many sellers have refused to back-out regardless of the threat of power seizure or arrest from the law enforcement officials.
There was a decline in the sales of legal marijuana in 2018, and this was linked to the increase in tax and restrictions posed by some cities to the operation of a legitimate marijuana business. That single effect made illicit stores to boom because the registered ones couldn’t operate effectively as a result of the rise in tax.
Los Angeles wasn’t an exception; a city that has an overwhelming number of illegal pot dispensaries, and therefore, exposed the legal stores to unfair competition due to the ridiculous prices these illegal stores sell their products because they do not have to worry about taxes.
Report from Times review, the LAPD, and WeedMap (a famous electronic catalog for marijuana business) have revealed that about 60% of marijuana dispensaries in LA are operated illegally with no license from the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulations. These illicit stores have overcrowded every nook and cranny of LA, and it is becoming unbearable to legal business owners.
Social advocates claim that the challenges Los Angeles is facing with curbing the illegal operations of these individuals or groups are as a result of the prolonged semi-legal status of the business before it was legalized completely. Before its legalization, a subtle penalty was given to the offenders because of this semi-legal status.
Dale Gieringer, the director at National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws (California center), said: ”This is a situation that is unique to Los Angeles, as we speak now, I can’t assure you of a specific place where you would find illegal operators in Oakland or San Francisco.”
As legal marijuana business owners continue to air their frustrations, Carlos de la Torre, CEO of Cornerstone Research Collective, said, ”Our businesses are facing severe setbacks because we have been forced to sell in an unequal market. A lot of energy and money have been invested in securing a legal license to operate this business, but we are beginning to feel that the city is not complying with their terms of the agreement.”
Regardless of the adverse effect, officials have also expressed fears over the health implication of the products from these unlicensed stores. Many pot dealers have also added that some buyers cannot distinguish between legal and illegal pots.
Also, they have accused WeedMap of aggravating the problem because it has created an avenue that encourages the growth of these illicit stores. ”If WeedMap revokes its support for these individuals, about 80% of them would become extinct,” Said Da La Torre, one of the legal pot dispensary owners in LA.
In reaction to these several claims and agitations, Los Angeles has rededicated its commitment towards fighting illegal cannabis businesses this year. The government has provided the resources to create public awareness to educate the citizens on the dangers of trading with illegal pot stores and how they can identify such sellers.
Eric Garcetti has dedicated up to $10 million to sensitize the populace and clampdown on the operation of illicit marijuana business which has infested the city