Authorities shut down an illegal weed dispensary and grow house in Los Angeles as part of a crackdown on the marijuana black market.
The raid on Tuesday afternoon by Los Angeles police, fire, building and safety and water and sewer departments, resulted in the arrests of three employees at The 15 Spot in Van Nuys, a neighborhood in Los Angeles. Armed with a search warrant, police had to break down the door leading into the area in the dispensary where weed was being sold illegally, investigators said. Several customers were escorted out of the store by police.
The operation is part of a law enforcement battle against the black market, particularly in the Los Angeles area. A CNBC investigation last month found that nationwide, the estimated $70 million illegal weed market is seven times bigger than the legal market, according to New Frontier Data. Police say more than an estimated 250 illegal dispensaries are operating in the Los Angeles area, which has 187 licensed stores.
At The 15 Spot, police found a generator hooked up to run power. City officials previously had turned off the electricity. No one from management or the owner was at the business during the raid.
“It’s fairly typical as far as the way it’s being operated as a nonpermitted illegal cannabis clinic,” Los Angeles Police Detective Ben Herskowitz said. “You could tell just by the way the cannabis product is packaged. They’re not allowed to be in mason jars. Legal ones are packaged, they’re sealed.”
Customers don’t know what unapproved weed contains, he said, warning they are at risk of consuming unknown pesticides.