By the time the sun came up on Friday the thirteenth, cannabis law enforcement agents had seized $8.8 million worth of cannabis products, including some 10,000 counterfeit vape pens and $129,000 cash, from two dozen unlicensed cannabis shops in Los Angeles, California. From December 10 – 12, investigators with the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control and the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Cannabis Enforcement Unit served search warrants at dozens of cannabis retailers, rounding up and arresting staff and confiscating products and cash.
The week-long mass raids represent the largest crackdown on the illicit cannabis industry in Los Angeles. And chief cannabis regulators vow there’s more to come.
Mass Raids Target Unlicensed Cannabis Shops
California officials have long-known that the process of ousting the state’s illicit cannabis market and replacing it with a licensed, regulated industry wouldn’t be easy. Legalizing the sale of recreational cannabis, phased in January 2018 after November 2016’s yes vote on Proposition 64, was supposed to take a chunk out of the illegal market. But legal retail has barely made a dent in it.
About three quarters of all known cannabis sales in California happen between buyers and unlicensed sellers, according to recent estimates. Sprawling illegal grow