The illicit pot shop where Kelvin worked wasn’t an outlier: In fact, the majority of shops in LA are unlicensed. In the entire city, only 184 pot shops, less than 1 in 5, are licensed. Many Angelenos have no idea that the place they buy their cannabis—or in Kelvin’s case, report to work—might be operating outside the law. This gray-market section of the industry established itself over more than a decade, between about 2005 and 2018, when local politicians were reluctant to regulate an industry that was breaking federal law.
In a series of recommendations to the Los Angeles City Council, L.A.’s Department of Cannabis Regulation proposed an immense overhaul of its marijuana business licensing structure and social equity program.
The DCR’s proposals are set to be taken up Tuesday by a City Council committee.
The recommendations, if adopted, could be far-reaching for many marijuana entrepreneurs hoping to win a city business license. The recommendations were both hailed and derided by industry officials after their release.
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted cannabis enforcement initiatives in Los Angeles and caused critical budget shortfalls that could further hinder efforts to crack down on unlicensed marijuana operators.
That one-two punch could present a major obstacle to the success of L.A.’s legal market.
Reducing the number of illicit cannabis sellers and growers in Los Angeles has long been a top priority for licensed businesses, which say they cannot compete on pricing since legal recreational sales took effect in January 2018.
Legal cannabis dispensary operators and industry members said they fear more targeted looting as well as attacks by professional criminals this week amid national civil unrest over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
Several dozen dispensaries in California and two in Oregon were subject to a wide range of criminal acts over the weekend, including vandalism, ransacking, and targeted professional robberies. At least one cannabis producer and a licensed distributor in California also reported being robbed.
It appears that the ongoing riots throughout the USA have not been kind to a certain dispensary operator. Video emerged overnight of what appears to be multiple California based Medmen Enterprises (CSE: MMEN) dispensary locations being ransacked by looters amid the ongoing chaos.
The rapper doesn’t condemn the people who broke into the store. Instead, he argues that human life is more valuable than any building.
“It’s extremely unfortunate what happened to our store tonight on Melrose. But as a human living in the world we’re living in today, I cannot expect anything less until justice is served,” Berner said in the video posted to his 1.3 million Instagram followers. “We can rebuild our store, but you cannot bring someone back to life.”
More than 2,051 Americans are sick and 39 have died from vaping-associated pulmonary injury (VAPI) this year.
There are many suspects, but the US Centers for Disease Control’s “very strong culprit of concern” is a new cutting agent found in illicit THC vaporizer cartridges across the nation. Tocopheryl-acetate, also known as vitamin E oil, surged in popularity on the street market ahead of the lung injury outbreak last summer.
Tests run on cannabis vaporizer cartridges recently obtained by Leafly at illegal California stores show shocking levels of pesticide contamination and toxic vitamin E oil.
By law, those shops shouldn’t even exist, let alone sell tainted THC vape oil to an unsuspecting public. Under Proposition 64, which took effect Jan. 1, 2018, all medical and adult-use cannabis retailers must have a state-issued license.
The registrants who met the deadline – 1,866, a spokeswoman for the L.A. Department of Cannabis Regulation told Marijuana Business Daily – did so simply to verify their eligibility to seek cannabis retail licenses through L.A.’s social equity program.
Social equity is a tricky beast to name -- it’s all new and a little crazy in an exciting way. Those familiar with the state initiatives know that they’re far from perfect, but most of what you hear about it focuses on the process, not the people.