Unlicensed South L.A. Cannabis Store Accused of Selling Pesticide-Laced Marijuana Products: City Attorney

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)

The city filed a lawsuit Monday against a South Los Angeles Cannabis store accused of operating without a license and selling marijuana products containing a dangerous pesticide that has been banned in the state, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.

The lawsuit seeks the immediate closure of Kush Club 20 located at 5527 S. Central Avenue, after testing found Paclobutrazol in the store’s products, according to a news release.

The chemical is a plant growth fungicide that has been banned for use on cannabis and food crops in California. It is typically used on golf courses to make the grass appear dense and green, authorities said.

Officials also seek penalties up to $20,000 for each day the store operated illegally, as well as costs and attorney’s fees associated with the investigation and an injunction prohibiting illegal cannabis sales at the location, according to the news release.

The store’s owners and executives, as well as the property owner who leased the space to the store, were all named in the civil lawsuit for partaking in a “transaction designed to aid and abet the allegedly illegal commercial cannabis activity taking place at the property by misrepresenting the actual nature of the business on the lease,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said.

The lawsuit against Kush Club 20 is the first time legal action taken against an illegal vendor seeks heavy monetary penalties, and comes as part of a broader crackdown on illegal marijuana businesses, the City Attorney’s Office said.

After recreational marijuana was legalized in the state, all businesses selling cannabis products in Los Angeles became required to get a license from both the state and the city.

“Illegal cannabis businesses can pose serious threats to the public’s health and safety,” said Feuer in a written statement. “Customers patronize illegal shops at their peril, and undermine businesses who play by the rules—and whose product is tested to protect buyers’ health.”

Since May 2018, the City Attorney’s Office has filed 217 cases involving 172 different marijuana stores and two delivery services, according to the news release. Authorities say 113 of those dispensaries have been closed down.

“We care if the romaine lettuce we’re eating is contaminated. We care about whether we can safely eat at Chipotle,” Feuer said in a tweet. “Marijuana buyers should exercise the same degree of caution.”


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