City shuts down illegal cannabis dispensary in South Los Angeles

Authorities have shut down an unlicensed cannabis dispensary in South Los Angeles. The city says the crackdown is aimed at deterring other illegal operators.

Los Angeles police served a search warrant and closed the illegal dispensary located at 8931 S. Broadway. City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents the area, said his district has "far too many illegal dispensaries.''

"We have over 70 illegal dispensaries in our district and dozens are still listed on platforms like Weedmaps,'' Harris-Dawson said. "Illegal
dispensaries poison our neighborhoods and their own customers by operating dangerous, unregulated businesses. Additionally, these illegal actors make it difficult for legal dispensaries to operate successfully, including Cannabis Social Equity Program participants.''

Related: Weedmaps to stop advertising unlicensed pot businesses

Last week, Weedmaps announced that it would stop listing unlicensed cannabis businesses on its platforms, but the Irvine-based company also said the solution to the problem is to give licenses to more businesses.

"Shutting down these persistent offenders will help to create more opportunities for legal cannabis businesses to contribute to their communities and the city while draining resources from the illegal market,'' said Cat Packer, executive director of the city's Department of Cannabis Regulations.

Harris-Dawson said Wednesday's enforcement action was part of a multi-pronged approach to close illegal cannabis shops. Cease-and-desist letters have been delivered to 231 illegal businesses and the property owners of those businesses. Utilizing a new ordinance, the Department of Water and Power has shut off utilities at 193 illegal dispensaries.

Last week, a proposal authored by Harris-Dawson was advanced to the City Council that would allow officers to padlock, board up or fence off illegal cannabis businesses.

According to a statement from Harris-Dawson's office, some illegal dispensaries have run generators on their rooftops to continue operating after utilities are shut off.