Los Angeles has issued licenses to nearly 100 marijuana retailers, but police estimate there are at least double that number operating illegally in the city and undercutting cannabis businesses that are playing by the rules.
Police have shut down eight illegal marijuana shops since Jan. 1, a pace that is unlikely to intensify as the department is focused on curbing violent crimes.
At least 35 people were arrested during the eight raids, including four who were taken into custody last week.
Most of the illegal shops were operating in plain sight from storefronts in busy neighborhoods.
So far, only 99 businesses have been issued licenses to sell recreational marijuana in L.A.
But police estimate 200 to 300 illegal cannabis shops are operating within the city.
A report from the city’s controller last June estimated there were more than 1,700 legal and illegal dispensaries.
Police will continue to identify illegal shops, according to an LAPD spokesman.
Because investigations can be lengthy, police are prioritizing cannabis shops that are causing crime and generating complaints from the community.
– Associated Press