• VapeCritic
    I thought this article was going to be about the usual black market on the streets, but they're talking about people actually opening up unlicensed dispensaries all over the place!

    It says the # of unlicensed stores outnumbers the # of licensed ones, that's crazy stuff. As always it's to avoid the high taxes :roll:


    By MICHAEL BALSAMO, Associated Press

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A slight marijuana smell wafted out as a steady stream of customers walked into a warehouse, its doors and windows covered by bars.

    Suddenly, police swooped in.

    "Sheriff's department! Search warrant!" a Los Angeles County deputy shouted as the team thundered through the front door and began hauling out people in handcuffs.

    The Compton 20 Cap Collective just south of Los Angeles that was raided earlier this spring is one of hundreds of illegal marijuana stores operating in LA County, where marijuana is legal for anyone 21 and over and retailers must be licensed to sell to them.

    Broad marijuana legalization arrived in California at the start of the year. From the beginning, there was concern the legal market would be undercut by the massive black market that has existed for decades.

    And that's what's happening. Nowhere is it a bigger problem than in the state's biggest legal local marijuana market: Los Angeles County.

    The number of outlaw dispensaries in the county greatly outnumbers about 150 licensed storefront retailers.

    That reality is a buzzkill for those trying to play by the rules.

    Legal pot shops are losing customers who can get products more cheaply at illegal outlets that don't charge or pay taxes, said Adam Spiker, executive director of the Southern California Coalition, a trade organization that represents cannabis growers, distributors and dispensary owners.

    It's an "unfair competitive situation for licensed businesses," Spiker said.

    "I think if you turn the tables and took cannabis out of the equation — if it was another industry that didn't have the stigmas — the government would do everything they could to give those licensed business paying taxes a level playing field."

    One of the selling points for legalization was it would generate a tax windfall for state and local governments. However, during the first quarter, the state reported only $34 million from cultivation and excise taxes, putting it on pace to fall well below the $175 million forecast for the first six months.

    In April, state regulators sent nearly 1,000 cease-and-desist letters to cannabis businesses they suspected were operating illegally. An analysis by the trade publication Marijuana Business Daily found about 64 percent of the businesses were in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

    Last month, the Los Angeles city attorney's office charged 142 people as part of a crackdown on illegal dispensaries. It also sent out cease-and-desist letters but declined to say how many.

    Los Angeles County boasts the nation's largest sheriff's department, but even it has nowhere near the manpower to take down all the illegal pot shops. A task force overseen by Lt. Frank Montez raids an average of one dispensary a week.

    However, the voter-approved ballot measure legalizing cannabis in California included a provision that made possessing more than 28.5 grams only a misdemeanor. That means officers can seize businesses' cash and marijuana, but employees and owners rarely face jail, and illegal operations often quickly reopen.

    "It's a money-lucrative business so there are people willing to take the risk," said Capt. Holly Francisco, who commands the sheriff's department's narcotics unit.

    Montez sees his work as more than code enforcement. Marijuana sold illegally may be tainted with illegal pesticides and other harmful substances. And licensed marijuana shop owners who pay their taxes should have a fair playing field, he said.

    "When you have an illegitimate, illegal dispensary operating, that not only hurts the industry as a whole but that really hurts the community," Montez said.

    At the Compton store, a sign above a security window says customers must be at least 18 and have a physician's recommendation to buy medical marijuana and be 21 and have a valid photo ID for anything else. Like many others, the shop operated in plain sight and advertised online, including on WeedMaps, a go-to website for people looking to buy cannabis.

    Inside, whiteboards on dirt-smudged walls advertised the prices for different types of cannabis and concentrates.

    Cartridges for vapor pens and "Shatter," a honey-like oil containing cannabis extract, cost between $15 and $30. Large display cases held jars of branded marijuana strains — 28 grams of "Purple Dragon" sold for $160.

    "People out here on the street are thinking it is a legitimate operation and are smoking this cannabis with all these dangerous pesticides, and they are really killing themselves," Montez said.

    Some illegal pot shops look so legitimate that customers may not even realize they are illegal unless they figure out they aren't being charged tax. But like any shopper looking for the best deal, plenty know these places are illegal and go because it's cheaper.

    While some illegal LA County pot shops grow their own plants, many are supplied by illegal grows in the hills of Northern California, long a major source of all U.S. pot.

    Lake County, about 125 miles (201 kilometers) north of San Francisco, is home to many such grows because of its topography, which allows pot farmers to easily hide large operations. It has an abundance of federal and state forests and land where cartels set up operations.

    Like the LA County Sheriff's Department, Lake County lacks the manpower to put much of a dent in illegal operations.

    Deputies patrol on the ground and in helicopters, and last year they destroyed about 250,000 plants and arrested 46 people for illegal grows, Sheriff Brian Martin said.

    He has no estimate for the number of illegal grows in the county but is confident the hundreds of thousands of plants deputies chop down each year are "just the tip of the iceberg."

    Martin said his short-staffed department has assigned a single a detective full-time to marijuana eradication. He counts on help from state and federal agencies, but they too have their priorities.

    "It's all about manpower," he said. "No one has enough of it."
  • VapeCritic
    But, this is a little over the top:

    "People out here on the street are thinking it is a legitimate operation and are smoking this cannabis with all these dangerous pesticides, and they are really killing themselves," Montez said.

    Killer Cannabis!
  • Baron23
    On the other side, LA has been massively slow to issue dispensary licenses and many locales have banned dispensaries which is allowed by the local authority clauses in the really kind of shitty regs that were put in place.
  • MAbud

    I was just out in CA last week and it was a crazy time...all the new labeling regulations took effect on 7/1. There is now more labeling and testing required which is a good thing...however, some of the high end extract guys are actually having to create a lesser product to comply. That part is absolutely nuts to me!! But there were some great sales leading up to the changeover :)
  • To the Cloud
    The regulations are nuts and always changing. Would imagine with the price competition of everyone growing and selling now coupled with the high costs of regulation you are going to see more and more of this. It's good and bad, our office uses a craigslist delivery service to buy the same stuff you can get across the street for 3 times as much.
  • Tyedyesamuraiguy
    @VapeCritic there are so many "dispensaries" around same with all the moms its a crazy time. The cops leaves some of them alone because they are either on the take or its so close to legalization they just dont care. A storefront ids street dealers don't.
  • Heroin Batman
    This is my worry about Toronto in the future. If the prices get too ridiculous I'm gonna start cutting down. I'm not buying our slimy politicians new audis.
  • Tyedyesamuraiguy
    I'm arpund that area and i dont think you have to worry those store fronts are cheap im talking 84 an o its hit and miss but if you gpt the eye you can get preems everytime online ordering is cheap as fuck too.
  • Tyedyesamuraiguy
    @Heroin Batman only thing about online is you dont know what ya got till you get it so j try to stick with juat concetrates that way
  • Heroin Batman
    I buy online from here https://shop.auroramj.com/#/shop so I know it's all good. I'm just saying right now it's 6$ a gram plus tax and I spend about 300$ a month or so on it, which sounds kind of crazy to type. If they tax it or increase it I'm not gonna maintain the same amount.
  • Tyedyesamuraiguy
    @Heroin Batman check out weed maps.sick app! theyre are places near you that sell for 3 a gram dude.
  • Tyedyesamuraiguy
    I wont tell you not to cut bacl though lol after taking a pretty long break from it ive come to find less is more
  • MothChewMoth
    I personally really like Eaze. I used to get my medical recommendations from their service, and both their delivery and customer service are exceptional. Not sure how to tell from Weed Maps who is licensed and who is not since going legal here in San Diego.
  • Tyedyesamuraiguy
    @MothChewMoth for those of us recrearionalists it is fuckin ace though. Cant stop the crooks!!
  • Heroin Batman
    I love that app, use it a lot for extra weed to have with ppl. I'm just worried they'll get hard on em again once they're selling it themselves (meaning the government)
  • Tyedyesamuraiguy
    @Heroin Batman Maybe the storefronts but online in my opinion is untouchable. Its not like we Will get anything for ordering it will be legal the site will be running all the risk legalization is great i used to think it would be such an aweful thing lol. But right now all it is doing is dropping the prices
  • Tyedyesamuraiguy
    And we can have 4 plants bro so sickk i cant wait i love to grow but cant risk it anymore
  • Heroin Batman
    if that's the case with the online then nothing to worry about I guess. Also growing I have to learn, I'm in a condo no balcony but a solarium so I get a ton of sun. I gotta learn how to grow it.
  • MothChewMoth
    I like the idea of growing, but the time and money investment sort of turn me off. Also the logistics of keeping it away from the kid and dog while also not having my whole yard or house smell like weed is just more effort than I really care to put in.
  • juxt
    grow tent...they're really getting reasonable for a full kit. Check out GrowAce...
  • RollingStoned
    Anybody know any good storefronts or deliveries in the LA area
  • G-love
    Yes just look up weedmaps and the city you are in and the closest stores and deliveries will pop up.
  • Lucic and Chong
    I think for something small like only 4 plants, the way to go is a self contained grow box. Locks, filtered air outtake, any moisture/mold problems are contained in the unit not your home... Also can be easily disguised as a wardrobe, dresser, cupboards, etc to make it more stealthy if needed.

    Years ago a friend of mine used one of these commercial ones, and it worked great. But it would be a lot cheaper, and fairly easy, to construct one for yourself. I know that I'm planning on building one when we're legal.
  • Tyedyesamuraiguy
    @Heroin Batman when i first learned to grow i didn't do anything fancy just soul seeds and i used fish shit to fertalize. I can do hydro ponics and fancy stuff but when its legal i will just be using that method. Its a learn as your grow thing its super simple and if your weed turns out not great look into making honey oil or even safer and simpler get ice hash bags no matter what it will be worth your time
  • Tyedyesamuraiguy
    And always flush your plants the last two week's of budding with just water
  • Heroin Batman
    out of the corner of my eye I thought you said always flush your pants. You've convinced me to try, I found seeds in my weed and have saved them for a while, not sure they can be planted?. If not I was thinking of that place off Yonge south of Wellesley that sells seeds? I need to grow rockstar.
  • okla68m
    Oklahima, just passed Medical on June 26 !
    Now, some Ya-Hoo's are trying to Limit ALL to 12% and NO SMOKING/VAPING MATERIAL !
    523,000+ People are being ASS REAMED, WITHOUT BEING KISSED ! At Least that seems to be the Attempt!
    Petitions for Recreational & Open Free Cultivation are being circulated.
    How'd I Know after living in this state for 67 of 69 years, that some INBRED YA'HOO would try and stick their limp lil weenee into the Pie !
  • Slowhand
    The moral morons will put such limits on it it willl be stillborn. No matter what the citizens want they will never allow anything sold that will get you high. Won’t happen. Sorry
  • Bruce
    I hate it when people ruin a good thing,

    The Answer - Make recreational legal and medical easy, Then like Cigarettes it can be sold and regulated, and that will give the ability to set the price to be on par with the illegal stuff.

    Will they listen ? Probably
  • okla68m
    Oklahoma passed Medical (cough) on June 26. Today, the Oklahoma Health Dept Banned ALL SmokabLe Cannabis and ruled All Despensary's Must be Ran by a Licensed Pharmacist!
    In other words, they just GUTTED what 523,000+ people VOTED FOR !
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