L.A. City Council votes to cut utilities to illegal pot shops

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With hundreds of illegal marijuana shops continuing to operate in the city, the Los Angeles City Council today unanimously approved an ordinance aimed at cracking down on the businesses by shutting off their utilities.

“These are the types of efforts that we can deploy in being resourceful looking at our existing city resources to help combat some of the challenges that we have before us,” Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez said before the vote.

The new ordinance still needs to be signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti. However, once made official, it will authorize the Department of Water and Power to disconnect utilities at illegal businesses.

Before utilities can be cut, the Department of Cannabis Regulation will have to provide written confirmation that the address in question does not have a license, and the Los Angeles Police Department or another city agency must provide written confirmation to the LADWP that commercial cannabis activity is occurring at the address.

Nearly two dozen illegally operated cannabis shops have been shut down and over 20 search warrants have been served in the Northeast San Fernando Valley in the last twelve months.

City Attorney Mike Feuer announced last September that his office had filed 120 criminal cases within a nine-month period against 515 defendants associated with 105 illegal commercial cannabis locations across the city.

Closing down illegal pot shops has proven to be a challenge for the city; it often involves an undercover police operation and the use of other significant law enforcement resources.

There are 178 cannabis-related businesses currently operating legally in the city, according to the Department of Cannabis Regulation.

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