L.A. Lawmakers Approve Measure to Cut Utilities at Unlicensed Cannabis Dispensaries

A budtender handles marijuana at a medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles on Sept. 7, 2012. (Credit: David McNew / Getty Images)

A budtender handles marijuana at a medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles on Sept. 7, 2012. (Credit: David McNew / Getty Images)

Water and power service could soon be shut off at known marijuana dispensaries operating without proper permits in the city of Los Angeles.

The move was spurred by City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, who put forth a measure that was unanimously approved Friday. It would immediately go info effect once signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, Rodriguez’s office said in a news release.

Garcetti’s office did not return a request for comment on whether he planned to sign it into law.

It’s been over a year since recreational weed sales became legal across California, and Rodriguez said the refusal of some businesses to adhere to state and local licensing regulations undercuts the legal cannabis market and robs the city of tax revenue.

Cat Packer, head of the city’s Department of Cannabis Regulation, said in a statement that the move would be “monumental in curbing existing and new illegal cannabis establishments.”

The utilities shut-off would be enforced with the help of L.A. police, the city attorney’s office and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Authorities believe there are hundreds of dispensaries operating outside regulatory framework.

Over the past year, nearly two dozen pot shops have been shut down across the northeast San Fernando Valley, according to Rodriguez.

Last September, City Attorney Mike Feuer announced more than 500 people had been charged with misdemeanors in connection with a crackdown on 105 cannabis businesses lacking regulatory approval.

More information on local regulations for marijuana dispensaries can be found at cannabis.lacity.org.

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