Murchison & Cumming LLP

Another Unlicensed Enforcement: Is it Worth the Risk?

October 29, 2018

By: Heidi C. Quan

Months ago, we reported on recent enforcements on two unlicensed cannabis businesses in Sacramento and Costa Mesa. Now, we have learned of another enforcement action against an unlicensed cannabis retailer operator in Los Angeles.

On October 25, 2018, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (Bureau) and the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation-Cannabis Enforcement Unit (DOI-CEU), in coordination with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) served a search warrant on an unlicensed cannabis retail location. The City of Los Angeles confirmed that the location had not applied for a local license. As a result of the search warrant, over $2,000,000 of cannabis and cannabis products were seized, including nearly 500 pounds of cannabis flower, over 430 gross pounds of concentrates, and over 200 gross pounds of edibles.

Not only do unlicensed businesses need to worry about the seizure of product, but they also need to be concerned with criminal charges. The owner of the retail location, as well as six employees, were all arrested on misdemeanor charges for operating a commercial cannabis business without a license. This particular investigation was conducted at the request of the Bureau based upon a complaint received.

As we are coming to the end of the first year of legalization and licensing, unlicensed cannabis businesses are going to have fewer excuses to provide the Bureau, and the District Attorney's Office, if they find themselves under investigation.

BOTTOM LINE: If you don't have your license yet, start the process now. If you don't know what you need to do, seek legal advice and assistance. It's just not worth the risk.

 

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