قالب وردپرس درنا توس
Home / Business / Nearly 3,000 illegal marijuana establishments were found in the California audit, and dwarfed legal trafficking

Nearly 3,000 illegal marijuana establishments were found in the California audit, and dwarfed legal trafficking



California's black cannabis market is at least three times the size of the regulated weed industry, according to an audit published Wednesday, the latest illustration of the state's ongoing struggle to tame a cannabis economy that has long operated in legal limbo.

The audit, conducted by United Cannabis Business Assn., Found approximately 2,835 unlicensed dispensaries and delivery services operating in California. In comparison, only 873 cannabis wholesalers in the state are licensed, according to the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

The figures are the latest sign of California's rocky rollout of the legal marketplace, which promised better regulation and control as of 201

8. Legal marijuana companies have repeatedly criticized state leaders and law enforcement for failing to curb unlicensed dispensaries and delivery services, which sells cannabis at a much lower price by skirting state and municipal cannabis taxes. that roughly $ 8.7 billion will be spent on unregulated cannabis products in California this year, compared to just $ 3.1 billion spent on cannabis sold by lawful businesses.

Officials have also warned that cannabis products sold on the illegal market may pose a health risk because edible products, steamer pens and flower shelves in illegal stores have not been subject to state testing. Since June, the California Department of Public Health has linked more than 60 cases of acute lung disease to patients who had recently used vape pens, warning that many of these people had recently purchased products from unlicensed stores.

UCBA, an industry association representing dispensary owners, cultivators and other licensed marijuana businesses in the state, completed its review by scouring the popular and controversial site Weedmaps, which operates as a Yelp-like service for cannabis dispensaries and products.

Lawrence Mansour, chief technology officer for APOP Media, a UCBA member focused on cannabis advertising, said he calculated the estimate for illegal operators by compiling a database of each California-based list for a cannabis dispensary or delivery service on Weedmaps . Mansour said he found 3,757 listings, a figure far higher than the total list of approved cannabis wholesalers registered in the state.

Any attempt to quantify the number of unlicensed cannabis wholesalers in the state would be an estimate. The BCC does not track such data, and there are illegal marijuana companies in California that do not advertise Weedmaps.

UCBA presented the Authority's findings in a letter to Prime Minister Gavin Newsom and the Cannabis Agency early Wednesday asking for a crackdown on Weedmaps, which many in the cannabis industry have criticized for reinforcing the reach of illegal sellers.

"Every day that Weedmaps continues to advertise to unlicensed dealers, it puts consumers at risk and suppresses the growth and the very existence of the legal market," the letter states. “The unlicensed operators at Weedmaps do not pay taxes or the costs of complying with local and state regulations, do not comply with required worker or consumer protection, and do not allow unions to organize workers, which in turn allows them to charge a fraction of the costs. Simply put, these dealers, who are allowed easy access to the public through Weedmaps, serve without contributing to California while jeopardizing the health and safety of our state residents. ”

  A Los Angeles Department of Water and Power worker turns off electricity from an illegal marijuana dispensary earlier this year.

A Los Angeles Department of Water and Power worker turns off electricity to an illegal marijuana dispensary earlier this year.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The trade association also asked the state to retroactively pay millions of dollars in fines retroactively on Weedmaps under AB 97, a bill that was passed in July and allows for $ 30 000 in fines for every day a cannabis retailer operates without a license. Some have interpreted the law to believe that Weedmaps should also be fined for allowing unlicensed dispensers to advertise without a license.

Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the Bureau of Cannabis Control, said the agency has been diligent in trying to combat the state's sprawling illegal marketplace.

"The agency would like to license several cannabis retail outlets in California," he said. “Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that prevent us from doing so. That's not all under our control. When it comes to illegal activity, the agency will continue its enforcement efforts and continue to look out for the public's health and well-being. "

Earlier this year, the agency said it had served 19 investigators on illegal dispensaries and seized approximately $ 16.5 million in unregulated cannabis products in the first six months of the year. Both totals were more than the entirety of enforcement actions carried out by the agency in 2018.

BCC also sent a cease-and-desist letter to Weedmaps last year, demanding that the site stop working with unlicensed operators. But Weedmaps has claimed recently that it is protected from such orders under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Act, which has shielded platforms like Facebook and YouTube from the responsibility for the content users post.

Late last month, however, Weedmaps said it would stop allowing unlicensed businesses to advertise on its platform, an announcement met with a mixture of praise and skepticism from those who consider the site as the bane of California's legitimate cannabis industry.

In a statement released Wednesday, the company said that in addition to requiring new advertisers to provide a state license number, customers must also provide a state identification. Despite the effort, CEO Chris Beals said California's black market won't really be affected until several municipalities allow legal cannabis sales.

opportunities and other major entry platforms that follow, we want to continue with an example, Beals said in a statement.

Fewer than 20% of California cities – 89 of 482 – allow retailers to sell cannabis for leisure. While many major cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, are opening up for commercial cannabis sales, even those cities have struggled to curb the black market.

Earlier this year, a Times review of Weedmaps found at least 220 unlicensed dispensaries in Los Angeles. In comparison, the city has issued only 187 temporary licenses for legal storefronts.

Queally reported from Los Angeles and McGreevy from Sacramento. Times staff writer Ben Welsh contributed to this report.

appId: & # 39; 119932621434123 & # 39 ;,

xfbml: true, version: & # 39; v2.9 & # 39; }); };

(function (d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName (s) [0]; if (d.getElementById (id)) {return;} js = d.createElement (s); js.id = id; js.src = "http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertFor (js, fjs); } (document, & # 39; script & # 39 ;, & # 39; facebook-jssdk & # 39;));
Source link