The city of Los Angeles, California is suing Kush Club 20, an unlicensed cannabis dispensary, claiming that it was selling products tainted with paclobutrazol – a fungicide classified as a Type II toxic chemical by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Los Angeles Times reports. The civil lawsuit is the first in the state to pit a city government against an unlicensed cannabis dispensary.
The city is seeking $20,000 per day the shop was illegally selling to customers; officials say Kush Club 20 was operating for about a year meaning the city could seek up to $7.5 million. City Attorney Mike Feuer noted that the daily penalty has yet to be “tested in court,” adding that the operators “knowingly omitted the true use of the property from the lease,” and said it was being used as a church.
“We apparently as a community care a lot about whether our romaine lettuce is contaminated, and we should. We care a lot about whether we can safely eat at Chipotle. Marijuana buyers should at least exercise that same degree of caution.” – Feuer, at a press conference, via the L.A. Times
Over the last year, city officials reportedly filed 217 criminal cases involving illegal dispensaries or delivery services, charging more than 800 defendants. In all, 113 illegal dispensaries have been shuttered. City and industry leaders hope that the staggering, multi-million-dollar suit will deter illegal operators.
Ruben Honig, executive director of the United Cannabis Business Association, said the organization has been warning the City Attorney “about the potential dangers of pesticides in untested products and the reckless behavior of landlords who indulge in fraudulent leasing schemes.”
Last month, the City Council passed a measure allowing the Department of Water and Power to shut off utilities at illegal dispensaries and Los Angeles police have recently shut down more than 20 illegal operators in the San Fernando Valley.
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