Los Angeles prosecutors say they have charged more than 500 people with misdemeanors for illegal marijuana operations at 105 locations across the city.
City Attorney Mike Feuer said Friday that police and his office continue to target the hundreds of businesses that aren’t complying with local and state rules since recreational pot sales became legal in California this year.
“Los Angeles voters wanted common-sense rules to regulate recreational marijuana so public safety is protected in our neighborhoods,” said Feuer. “Our message is clear–if you are operating an illegal cannabis business you will be held accountable.”
Feuer said his office has filed 120 marijuana cases against 515 people. The 105 businesses targeted include pot shops, delivery services and growing operations. He said nearly two dozen businesses have shut down since the enforcement.
According to Feuer’s office, all businesses conducting commercial cannabis activity in the City of Los Angeles are required to be licensed by both the State of California and the City of Los Angeles. The new regulations began in January of this year and follow the passage in recent years of state laws allowing recreational cannabis use and cannabis sales in the State of California. Under newly adopted city guidelines, commercial cannabis activity is prohibited in certain designated zones or near sensitive sites including schools.
“The LAPD will continue to work in support of the entire City family to ensure the responsible and lawful commercial sales of cannabis in Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore.
According to a statement issued by Feuer’s office, locations associated with the filings are primarily commercial locations but also include grow sites, extraction labs, and delivery services distributed geographically by council district.
“The Department of Cannabis Regulation commends the City Attorney and the LAPD for their successful efforts and continued dedication to identifying and prosecuting unlawful cannabis activity within the City,” said Cat Packer, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation in the statement. “We all encourage residents to help in this effort by reporting questionable cannabis activity in their communities through the City’s online complaint portal.”
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Those charged face up to six months in jail and $1,000 fines.
Matthew Hall contributed to this story