L.A. city attorney launches new crackdown on illegal marijuana shops

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Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feurer announced a new push against illegal cannabis shops, starting with a civil lawsuit filed against one illicit operator in south L.A. and several business associates.

Legal marijuana businesses in California likely will take careful note as this clampdown effort progresses, because they’ve long argued that illegal operators severely impact the bottom line of licensed firms.

Feuer’s office is seeking an injunction against Kush Club 20, an unlicensed marijuana retailer that advertises on Weedmaps, according to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in California Superior Court in Los Angeles County.

According to the suit, Kush Club 20 allegedly sold cannabis tainted with paclobutrazol, a pesticide that is typically employed for golf turf management but banned for use on marijuana.

“Illegal cannabis businesses can pose serious threats to the public’s health and safety,” Feuer said in a news release. “Customers patronize illegal shops at their peril and undermine businesses who play by the rules.”

Feurer also is suing the owner of the property where Kush Club 20 operates and a real-estate brokerage firm for their roles in supporting Kush Club 20.

The suit seeks to invoke for the first time a $20,000-per-day fine that was authorized by Measure M, a cannabis ordinance approved by L.A. voters two years ago.

The United Cannabis Business Association (UCBA) in Los Angeles applauded Feurer’s move.

“We are encouraged that the City Attorney has brought forward the City’s first civil and criminal cases against landlords and real-estate brokers,” the UCBA said in a statement.

“We expect these lawsuits will deter other illegal enterprises.”