Los Angeles Creates SWAT Team to Tackle Illegal Cannabis Businesses

The Los Angeles City Council approved recommendations to fund a Business, Licensing and Compliance program designed to shut down illegal cannabis businesses. Los Angeles will pay $3 million per year over the next three years to establish an inter-agency enforcement response team comprised of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the Los Angeles Fire Department, the Department of Cannabis Regulation, and the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. The group will share information about illegal operations through a new technology platform, and work together to direct enforcement efforts.

Over the past year, Los Angeles has developed creative administrative measures to tackle the growth of illegal cannabis businesses including shutting off their electricity and access to premises. In the report dated November 9, 2018, the LAPD indicated that, during the prior year, it executed 143 search warrants on unlicensed businesses, and made 435 arrests. The LAPD confiscated 67 firearms, over $600,000 in money and 34,852 pounds of cannabis. The arrests did little to stop the reopening of the unlicensed businesses. The LAPD indicated that additional enforcement efforts were needed as the misdemeanor charges for most violations was not adequate.