Los Angeles poised to begin cutting off utilities for illegal cannabis shops

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A Los Angeles City Council committee advanced a proposed ordinance to shut off water and power at unlicensed marijuana shops, another attempt to crack down on L.A.’s still-thriving illicit cannabis market.

If the measure becomes law, as expected by industry observers, the new ordinance would empower the city’s Department of Water and Power to disconnect both electricity and water utilities at locations that have been identified as unlicensed MJ shops by both the L.A. Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) and either the police department or another city agency.

L.A. has 185 licensed MJ retailers, according to the DCR, and is in the process of issuing more business permits to cannabis companies.

But unlicensed shops have been a thorn in the city’s side for years, despite repeated attempts by officials to stamp them out, with hundreds still operating without permits.

The proposal now goes to the full City Council and could be approved as soon as Friday.