Smoking pot before sex can make your orgasms even more intense



Smoking pot before sex can make your orgasms even more intense


Daily Star


COULD cannabis make your sex life even better? Apparently, smoking weed before getting jiggy could give you stronger and more frequent orgasms.


Women who smoke cannabis before romping are twice as likely to orgasm, research reveals.

As well as this, female pot smokers are said to have stronger climaxes and better sexual satisfaction.

Here’s everything you need to know about the study.


The findings were published in the science journal Sexual Medicine.

Researchers analysed results from 373 participants, 34% of which reported using marijuana before sex.

According to the results: “Women with frequent marijuana use, regardless of use before sex or not, had 2.10 times higher odds of reporting satisfactory orgasms than those with infrequent marijuana use.”

Reports also showed that sex tended to be more pleasurable and less painful.

The paper adds: “Most women reported increases in sex drive, improvement in orgasm, decrease in pain, but no change in lubrication.”





Previously, research claimed cannabis can boost libido.

Researchers at Stanford University in California found marijuana use is linked to a higher sex drive in humans.

In a 2017 paper, female cannabis users romped 7.1 times a month on average, while non-users got down and dirty six times.

There was good news for male weed users too.

Those who took the drug had sex 6.9 times monthly and non-users had it just 5.6 times a month.



It’s not all positive though.

Studies in the past have shown that weed use can lead to erectile dysfunction and lower sperm counts in men.

As well as this, blazing up is against the law in Britain.

While medicinal forms of cannabis oil were made legal in the UK in November last year, forms of marijuana with the THC element are categorised as an illegal class B drug.


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Police officers called to burglary discover cannabis farm in empty Romford house



Police officers called to burglary discover cannabis farm in empty Romford house


Police officers called to reports of a burglary at a house in Romford instead discovered the property they had been called to was operating as a cannabis farm.


A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman confirmed officers were called at 8.33am yesterday (Wednesday, May 29) to Brentwood Road, after neighbours reported suspicious activity which they believed was a burglary in progress.

The spokeswoman confirmed to the Recorder: “Officers attended and found a quantity of cannabis plants inside the building.


“No-one was found to be at the location.”

Officers continue to investigate, but no arrests have been made yet.

Anyone with information on the property should contact police on 101.





Dairy Jane! Ben & Jerry’s announces plans to make CBD-infused ice-cream – and asks fans for their help to get it legalized



Dairy Jane! Ben & Jerry’s announces plans to make CBD-infused ice-cream – and asks fans for their help to get it legalized


Daily Mail


Ben & Jerry's on Thursday announced its plans to make cannabis chemical-infused ice cream. The FDA is hosting a public hearing about legalizing the cannabis-chemical cannabidiol (CBD) on Friday



Ben & Jerry’s wants to make a new CBD-infused ice cream flavor – but the company needs fans’ help to get the cannabis product legalized.

The Vermont-based ice cream company hopes to add the marijuana plant extract cannabidiol (CBD) to its list of ingredients this year.

But first the Food and Drug Administration must approve the popular chemical additive, which is said to produce a relaxation and calming effect once consumed without getting people high like its psychedelic sibling tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Ben & Jerry’s announced its plans to make CBD-infused ice cream on Thursday ahead of the FDA’s public hearing about legalizing CBD, which will take place from 8am to 6pm on Friday. 

The company encouraged fans to submit public comment in favor of legalizing CBD via the FDA’s designated web page. 

‘You probably already know that we’re fans of all things groovy… So it’s no surprise that we can’t wait to get into the latest food trend: cannabidiol, or CBD,’ Ben & Jerry’s said Thursday morning in a statement on its website. ‘We are committed to bringing CBD-infused ice cream to your freezer as soon as it’s legalized at the federal level.’



Ben & Jerry's is pushing its fans to advocate for legalizing CBD at the hearing so it can proceed with its CBD-infused ice cream flavor


President Trump legalized a farm bill in December that made most CBD products legal under federal law. But the FDA still prohibits the use of the product in foods and drinks because it’s an active ingredient in an FDA-approved drug, according to  CNBC.

Ben & Jerry’s appears to be the first major food company to publicly advocate for CBD legalization so it can capitalize on the nation’s growing cannabis foods trend.

More than 76 percent of chefs ranked CBD and cannabis-infused drinks and food first and second among  top trends in a 2019 National Restaurant Association poll even though technically putting CBD in food products is illegal at the federal level.

Rich cannabis product lovers and ‘canna-curious’ foodies in states like Washington and Colorado, which have legalized the use of recreational marijuana, have resorted to hiring private chefs that specialize in cannabis-infused food, according to CNBC.



The New York Post reports New York City’s health department in February was forced to issue a public order for restaurant, bars cafes to stop selling CBD-infused products after a spike in the chemical’s use following Trump’s legalization order. 

‘We’re doing this for our fans,’ Ben & Jerry’s CEO Matthew McCarthy said of their planned new CBD ice cream flavor in a Thursday statement. ‘We’ve listened and brought them everything from Non-Dairy indulgences to on-the-go portions with our Pint Slices. We aspire to love our fans more than they love us and we want to give them what they’re looking for in a fun, Ben & Jerry’s way.’



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Man, 33, who burned himself to death outside the White House ‘was hallucinating on synthetic marijuana laced with Angel Dust’



Man, 33, who burned himself to death outside the White House ‘was hallucinating on synthetic marijuana laced with Angel Dust’


The Sun


THE man who died after walking across the lawn outside the White House having set himself on fire was reportedly tripping on hallucinogenic drugs. 

Police sources are said to have confirmed that Arnav Gupta, 33, had taken the drug K2 which had been laced with PCP, also known as Angel Dust.


The emergency services reacted quickly to the incident after the man was seen on fire


Gupta, from Bethesda, Maryland, had been reported missing by his family yesterday, about the time he was seen setting himself on fire on a lawn at Ellipse Park near the White House.

His motive remains unclear but TMZ today reported that unnamed police sources said he was hallucinating on K2 — a form of synthetic cannabis known as Spice — along with PCP.

Gupta’s family reported him missing after he left home at 9.20am.

At 12.20pm emergency services found the human torch, who reportedly suffered 85 per cent burns to his body, in an area in Washington DC known as The Ellipse or President’s Park.

Disturbing pictures from the scene show him being blasted with fire extinguishers while he was lying on the lawn less than a mile from the White House.

The 52-acre park lies between the home of the US president and the Washington Monument.

The man was rushed to a nearby hospital while battling “life-threatening” injuries after suffering 85 per cent burns to his body and died in the evening, according to the US Park Police.

Secret Service officials said the agency had “responded in seconds” to the incident.


The investigation has been handed over to the Metropolitan Police Department.

US President Donald Trump was working in the Oval Office in The White House during the incident, officials confirmed.

Police found a suspicious burning package near the man which was also extinguished, reports TMZ.


An unnamed eyewitness said: “Like a torch, his whole body was on fire.

“He was just walking like a zombie or something. Just straight, he wasn’t running and screaming or anything. He was walking straight. Then they put the extinguisher on him and put his [fire] out and that’s it.”

Alina Berzins, 17, said she was visiting the National Mall with her two cousins when “we saw this man” on the Elipse and “he starts running, and then we saw him covered in flames.”

“Everybody was in shock. I was in shock.”

She said several dozen cops suddenly appeared on the scene and were joined by a helicopter and multiple fire engines.

Berzin’s dad posted a video his daughter took on Twitter, writing: “Video of the person that was literally engulfed in flames on the #WhiteHouse lawn. Unbelievable.”

The video shows a man in flames for several seconds before emergency services douse him with water, with the White House visible in the background.

A school bus is also seen pulling up on the road beside the park in the video although it is not known if children were on it and they witnessed the horror.



Park Police and US Secret Service responded to the incident, put out the fire and began first aid on the stricken man before he was taken to hospital.

Jeffrey Adams, from the US Secret Service told The Sun: “Today at approximately 12.20 pm, a male individual lit himself on fire while on the Ellipse near 15th and Constitution Ave.

“Secret Service Uniformed Division Officers responded in seconds, extinguished the fire and began to administer first aid.”

Sgt. Eduardo Delgado, of the Park Police, said cops still did not know the man’s motive.

A spokesman for the Washington Fire Department told CNBC: “I can confirm that we’ve transported one patient with burns from the Ellipse and we’re now on the scene assisting law enforcement.”


The incident happened soon after Special Counsel Robert Mueller made a public statement insisting it was “not an option” for his office to have charged Trump during his inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

This is not the first time this year someone has set themselves on fire in the heart of American democracy.

On April 12, a man in an electric wheelchair-style scooter set himself ablaze near the same fence.


73 Comments and more photos on link






Cape Town sets aside land to grow cannabis



Cape Town sets aside land to grow cannabis


Cape Town has announced that it will release vacant land for the production of medical cannabis, with the city hoping to get its foot in the door of what’s considered an ‘untapped sector’ in South Africa.


The set-up of the facility will bring with it an investment of R638 million in capital expenditure during the construction of phase one, the city said.

Additionally, a further R1.5 billion will be invested during phase two which is expected to commence in 2023.

The city estimates that by the end of phase two, employment opportunities for 250 individuals would have been created.


Mayoral committee member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, James Vos, said that the team in the city’s Enterprise and Investment Department along with Wesgro, have been pursuing and working with potential investors in this space to see how we can land their investment in Cape Town.

“Wesgro led the engagement sessions between the stakeholders (government and the private sector) to pave the way for this investment,” he said.


“As a forward-looking, globally competitive city, these are the new investment opportunities we will pursue and attract to Cape Town.

“Cape Town is known for health care excellence and for being the leader in this field as the home of the first heart transplant. With Cape Town’s proximity to excellent universities and world-class infrastructure there is much potential for research in this emerging sector.”


Vos said that this is the second facility planned for Atlantis, a similar facility for the cultivation and processing of medicinal cannabis into oils and capsules is being developed on a private farm in close proximity to the industrial area.


Other locally-based players in the industry include a manufacturer of modular cannabis cultivation kits in shipping containers in Somerset West, he said.



Legalising cannabis could be one solution to India’s agrarian distress



Legalising cannabis could be one solution to India’s agrarian distress


In the past decade, there’s been a sea change with respect to the global attitude to cannabis. Its use has been legalised in some form or another across most of the US, many EU nations, Argentina, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, South Africa, and South Korea.


India, however, is completely out of step with this global trend, as the use of cannabis—both medical and recreational—remains illegal in the country.

Globally, these bans have been rescinded as nations have realised two things: First, bans didn’t work over a period of many decades. Since cannabis is easy to grow and process, bans only led to the creation of a large criminal industry that smuggled and distributed the drug, with police forces, customs services, etc. being corrupted into the bargain and large numbers of people being thrown into jail for personal use. Second, cannabis has enormous medical value. It is used to alleviate nausea and pain in cancer victims and amputees, for instance. It is also among the least harmful of recreational drugs.


Cannabis has become a legal, tax-paying, multi-billion industry with listed companies traded on the US and Canadian stock exchanges. The global market for legal cannabis is expected to reach $145 billion by 2025 with double-digit growth rates projected.

Legalisation has been a win-win for both industry and governments. As legal access to cannabis has increased, ancillary crime associated with the trade has fallen. Growers and distributors have become tax-payers. Medical and bioscience research into the plant’s potential uses has increased. Secondary and tertiary employment has been generated by marketing and branding of both recreational and medical cannabis, complete with the sale of accessories.



Why India



India, too, could quickly become a major player if it entered the global cannabis industry. This would work on many levels.

India has suffered an agrarian crisis for the past three years. Low produce prices and drought conditions in several regions have led to widespread distress, triggering suicides, and demonstrations by farmers. This has also led to lack of rural demand, which has affected other industries as well. Cannabis production could provide a large new revenue stream, including export earnings.



The expertise to rapidly scale up cannabis production, process, and market it with appropriate branding already exists. Ganja, charas, and bhang (three chemically similar substances derived from the same family of plants, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica) have been used in religious ceremonies across India for millennia. The plants grow wild across the entire country.

Until the 1980s, these used to be freely available; indeed they were sold from government shops. (Bhang still is, in certain states). However, in the 1980s, these were banned under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. The 1980s ban was imposed under diplomatic pressure from western countries, including the US.

Desi strengths

What are India’s advantages in entering the cannabis trade? Apart from suitable soil and climate, India already has a “branding moat.” Ganja and bhang have strong global recall and mental association with India’s cultural traditions—that’s why India is a favoured destination on the hippie trail.


India already has unofficial geographical indicator trademarks for ganja and charas. Specific districts in states like Kerala, Manipur, Himachal Pradesh for instance, are famous the world-over for the quality of the local produce. Much like Darjeeling Tea or champagne, cannabis from Manali, Malana, Manikaran and Idukki are names to conjure with, globally. Officially locking in branding with regional indicators could give India a big edge. The medical and bioscience research expertise also exists to develop new medical prescription drugs.

Legalising cannabis could create a new cash-crop with a revenue stream that has multi-billion dollar export potential. This could help to pull the agrarian economy out of the doldrums and generate employment for thousands of farmers.





Researchers tease out genetic differences between cannabis strains (by Washington State University)


Research from Washington State University could provide government regulators with powerful new tools for addressing a bevy of commercial claims and other concerns as non-medical marijuana, hemp and CBD products become more commonplace. The new analysis of the genetic and chemical characteristics of cannabis is believed to be the first thorough examination of its kind.

The current method is inadequate, says Mark Lange, a professor in WSU’s Institute for Biological Chemistry. Regulators focus on levels of the psychoactive compound THC and just a handful of the more than 90 other cannabinoids. The industry makes various claims about different strains, from sedating indicas to invigorating sativas, Acapulco Gold to Zkittlez, but they defy objective analysis.

“There is a reason why all these strains have different names—because a lot of them are very different,” said Lange. “But some strains with different names are actually very similar. The bottom line is there is a lot of confusion.”

Until now.

Lange and his colleagues analyzed genetic sequences from nine commercial cannabis strains and found distinct gene networks orchestrating each strain’s production of cannabinoid resins and terpenes, volatile compounds behind the plant’s powerful aroma.

Their research was published today in the journal Plant Physiology.

Armed with this new tool, people can start to sort out a variety of issues that are already emerging as recreational cannabis is legal in 11 states, including the entire West Coast, and hemp is legal across the country.

Lange’s analytical method, for example, can be used to clearly delineate between psychoactive cannabis and hemp, which by law has to have less than 0.3 percent THC. It might help identify the skunky smell that elicits complaints from the neighbors of pot farms, opening a way to breed and grow something easier on the nose. It can test the health claims of cannabidiol, known by the shorthand CBD, or the alleged synergy, known as the “entourage effect,” between cannabis compounds.

It can truth squad your bud tender.

“One of the things that needs to happen in the emerging market is that you know what you’re selling,” said Lange. “You can’t just call it something and then that’s good. We need to be very clear that this is the cannabinoid profile that is associated with, say, Harlequin -it has a specific cannabinoid profile, a specific terpenoid profile, and that’s what it is. If it has a different name, then it should have a different profile. Currently you can do whatever you want.”

Lange is an expert on trichomes, the resin-producing glands of plants like mint. But in this case, he could not touch the plant if he was to comply with federal and university policy on cannabis research. All the material was handled by EVIO Labs, a private cannabis testing company licensed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Anthony Smith, an EVIO biochemist and co-author, drew RNA from each strain by abrading trichomes with glass beads and filtering the material. A third party sequenced the RNA. In the end, Lange and his team touched only a high-resolution data set that clearly marks both the genes of each strain and their end products.

Cannabis oil restaurant shut down ‘despite police go-ahead’ Canna Kitchen owner says police and trading standards told him CBD oil was legal


A south-coast vegetarian restaurant has become the first UK food business to be shut down for infusing its dishes with CBD cannabis oil despite its owners saying they were assured less than a year ago by police and trading standards that the products were legal.

The Canna Kitchen, in Brighton, has been closed since a police raid at the start of May.

The owners, whose slogan is “let food be thy medicine”, face losing hundreds of thousands of pounds and laying off 15 staff.

Drug reform campaigners have described Sussex police’s action as “heavy-handed”.

Sam Evolution, Canna’s director, said he had evidence that the police and the UK Trading Standards Agency had given him the go-ahead to open a restaurant that sold food infused with CBD oil last July.

Speaking for the first time about the raid on 11 May, Evolution said he and his staff went out of their way to inform the police about what they were selling.

“On 1 July 2018 we contacted the Met police via email in an attempt to verify the official UK legal position on the sale of CBD hemp flower. Their response [in the email] was, ‘As long as you have made reasonable inquiries and it has been said that they are legal, then there is no criminal offence.’ We made this inquiry to ensure that we were always operating well within the law.



“We also made a separate inquiry to trading standards, who told us that as far as they could tell, there are no current legal issues posted by the sale of hemp-derived CBD products. It is clear CBD is not a controlled substance. It is freely available from many large high-street chains.”

Separately in March, a police officer from the Sussex constabulary visited the Canna Kitchen and, according to Evolution, told them “he did not want to interrupt our business”.

The officer was given samples of the CBD products, including items of food to take back to police headquarters for testing, Evolution said.

“The products taken included legal [lab-verified] full spectrum organic CBD oils, capsules, pastes, balms and beauty products. As well, there were CBD teas and coffees, chocolates, cakes, pet treats, hemp seeds and hemp flower,” he said.

Two months later up to a dozen officers carried out searches at the restaurant, ejected customers and forced staff to remain in one room for four and a half hours, Evolution said.

“I was stunned to learn this in light of our prior full and open cooperation with the police … it felt completely over the top.”

He said nothing on sale in the restaurant or in a dispensary shop above it involved illicit substances. Evolution added his business ethos was “wholesome, ethical, forward thinking and clean”.

“We have always taken very stringent measures to ensure that we comply with the letter of the law.”



Evolution stressed that Canna operated under Home Office guidelines, which stated that any CBD production containing less 0.2% of THC –tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical responsible for marijuana’s psychological effects is legally permissible.

A Sussex police spokesperson said the 11 May raid was part of an investigation into “money laundering and the supply of class B drugs” in Brighton.

They added: “At the shop in Duke Street a significant quantity of herbal cannabis was seized.”

Evolution said the inquiry into money laundering had nothing to do with his business and was connected to a raid on other premises in Brighton.

On the seizure of herbal cannabis, Evolution said: “It was industrial hemp that was seized from our Duke Street premises, which is imported legally with all taxes and duties paid. We have no connection to any other shop or residence raided in the police operation.”

Transform, which campaigns to reform drug policy, said The Canna Kitchen had been the victim of a heavy-handed police response compounded by confusion over the legality of the cannabis products it was selling.

“This is something that could have been dealt with as a civil licensing issue, rather than a criminal case,” said Danny Kuslick, the head of Transform’s external affairs.

“It may also demonstrate some significant confusion on all sides regarding the legality of the sale of hemp products for consumption, CBD and provision of medical cannabis. This is a situation that requires urgent clarification and guidance to reduce police involvement to a minimum.”


The Home Office said it could not comment on the raid as “operational policing decisions are a matter for chief constables”.

Evolution said he and his family stood to lose £250,000 of an initial investment in what they maintained was a health food business, as well as investors who were ready to buy into an expansion of the Canna Kitchen concept.

“I have a seven-month-old baby and a wife on maternity leave, so financially this has not been a great time to close my business. We fully cooperated with the authorities and even asked for advice from them in case there was anything we should remove from our store. The only conclusion I can come to is that I feel we have been targeted by the police as a test case.”

Cannabis Extracts Are Legal, Arizona High Court Rules


PHOENIX — The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled medical marijuana patients are protected from arrest for possessing cannabis extracts as long as they don’t have more of the drug than allowed.

The unanimous decision Tuesday concluded cardholders are immunized because extracts such as cannabis oil and hashish are considered marijuana under the state’s 2010 voter-approved medical marijuana law.

The state’s highest court gave prosecutors and previous courts a bit of a spanking in Tuesday’s ruling.

The ruling reversed a lower court decision that found patients faced arrest for hashish possession because the drug isn’t mentioned or included by name in the law.

The case, which for years has put Arizona’s entire medical cannabis industry and 184,000 patients in a kind of limbo, began in March 2013. Rodney Jones, a registered medical marijuana patient, was arrested for possessing 1.4 grams of hashish.

‘All Parts of the Plant’

Prosecutors argued that the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) did not protect Jones, because hashish and other cannabis extracts did not qualify as “marijuana” under the language of the initiative. Marijuana, they contended, only referred to cannabis flower and leaf.

Jones was convicted and sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.

His appeals were denied by subsequent courts, leaving the Arizona Supreme Court as his last, best hope.

The state Supreme Court, in its ruling issued Tuesday morning, gave prosecutors and previous courts a bit of a spanking. From the outset, the justices made clear in their ruling that because the AMMA was passed by voter initiative, their primary objective would be to “give effect to the intent of the electorate.”

“The most reliable indicator of that intent,” wrote the court’s majority, “is the language of the statute, and if it is clear and unambiguous, we apply its plain meaning.”

The AMMA permits those who meet certain qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana without fear of arrest and prosecution. The initiative defined marijuana to mean “all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis whether growing or not, and the seeds of such plant.”

Prosecutors and subsequent appeals courts had argued that the term “marijuana” meant only the leaf, seeds, stem, and flower of the plant—not extracts such as hashish or cannabis oil. That narrowed definition put entire categories of medical cannabis products in legal peril.

“We actually saw a lot of anxiety from some of our most vulnerable patients,” Moe Asnani, owner of The Downtown Dispensary in Tucson, told Leafly following Tuesday’s ruling.

Prosecutors won in previous cases because lower courts agreed that the AMMA’s definition of “marijuana” must conform to the word as defined by Arizona’s previously passed criminal code. That code separated the leafy aspects of the cannabis plant from the more refined category of extracts. The code was written so long ago that “hashish” was the only extract in existence at the time.

“The word ‘all,’ one of the most comprehensive words in the English language, means exactly that.”

Today’s Arizona Supreme Court ruling blew that reasoning out of the water.

“AMMA defines ‘marijuana’ as ‘all parts of [the] plant,’” the high court found. “The word ‘all,’ one of the most comprehensive words in the English language, means exactly that.”

In other words: All marijuana is legal for patients means all marijuana is legal for patients.

Again and again, the high court shot down state prosecutors’ contention that the AMMA does not apply to resin, hashish, or other extracts. The justices said they were “unpersuaded” by the argument that the AMMA limits cannabis use to dried flower.

And finally, for Rodney Jones, the best news of all: The Supreme Court vacated his conviction and sentence.

‘Pride and Reckless Disrespect’

“The Jones case has been the single most important issue in Arizona marijuana for the past year,” said Mikel Weisser, head of the Arizona chapter of NORML, which submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in the case.

Many cannabis advocates saw Jones’ arrest as an overreach by police intent . Concentrates are already widely sold by state-licensed dispensaries and commonly consumed by medical cardholders, who often prefer cannabis oils to smoking. But some in politics and law enforcement still vociferously oppose legalization, and the arrest of Jones was seen by many as an effort by cannabis opponents to hobble the state system.


“This case was about the pride and reckless disrespect for law and human suffering exhibited by Sheila Polk, the Yavapai County prosecutor who pushed this case for five years and then didn’t have the integrity to even show up for the Supreme Court hearing,” Weisser told Leafly. “We pray Arizona law enforcement will take a lesson and learn to respect the lives of the sick people who participate in our medical marijuana program.”

Demitri Downing, founder and director of the Arizona Marijuana Industry Trade Association, said dispensaries in the state saw a rush of patients stocking up on extract products during the Memorial Day weekend, concerned the ruling might go the other way. Luckily, “the Supreme Court saw through the nonsense and came up with a ruling that works well for patients and the industry,” he added.

“It’s important, because many patients have, through personal experience, found the modalities that work best for them, whether it’s vaping concentrates, flower, or edibles,” Downing explained. “So taking away the entire category of extracts would be effectively taking away their medicine.”

Black market cannabis shops thrive in L.A. even as city cracks down


From the street, it looked like an old-school drug raid.

A half-dozen police and city vehicles sat near the entrance of the White Castle cannabis dispensary near the Los Angeles Harbor, where a sign bearing a giant green cross faced Pacific Coast Highway.

But the cops didn’t seize any marijuana from the illegal shop. No one was arrested, just detained briefly while utility workers moved to shut off power. The officers had been there before and would likely be back. One detective guessed the business would be up and running again in a week.

Amid growing complaints from lawmakers and cannabis lobbyists about the city’s teeming marketplace for unregulated weed, Los Angeles in recent months has ramped up enforcement against illegal pot dispensaries. But with so much money on the line, many violators are choosing to stay open even after the city has cut off their power or threatened them with arrests or fines.

The state’s marijuana market got off to a sluggish start in 2018, with revenue from the first year of legal sales falling $160 million short of what was projected in former Gov. Jerry Brown’s final budget. High taxes and the refusal of many cities to allow legal cannabis sales have been blamed, while those restrictions have allowed a resilient black market to thrive.

Nowhere is that problem more glaring than in Los Angeles, where the number of illegal storefronts rivals legal dispensaries. In what should be the state’s most lucrative pot market, many legitimate business operators say they can’t compete with the hundreds of stores that are able to sell at a lower price by skirting taxes.


Pot entrepreneurs are running out of patience and money while waiting on L.A. permits


More than 200 illegal marijuana dispensaries operate in L.A., according to police estimates and a Times review of city records and listings on Weedmaps, a popular online directory for marijuana businesses.

To identify potential scofflaws, The Times compared all storefronts on Weedmaps with a list of businesses granted temporary approval to operate by Los Angeles’ Department of Cannabis Regulation. Only 182 marijuana dispensaries have permission to sell weed in the city, records show.

The review, conducted earlier this month, found 365 dispensaries advertised on Weedmaps inside city limits. Of those, more than 220 — 60% of the total — were operating at addresses not on the city’s list of legal retailers.

The numbers provide only an estimate of the problem.

Listings on Weedmaps change frequently. Some shops targeted by city enforcement efforts may have shut down since The Times last reviewed the website’s listings. But shops that are closed often open under new names, and not every illegal dispensary in the city advertises on the website.

Unregistered dispensaries were running in nearly every corner of Los Angeles, with the highest concentrations downtown and south of the 10 Freeway, The Times analysis found. Twelve can be found on a stretch of Florence Avenue between Crenshaw and Avalon boulevards.

Pot dispensaries in Los Angeles (Ben Welsh and Jon Schleuss / Los Angeles Times)

By mapping the legal and illegal storefronts in the city, The Times found large swaths of downtown and South L.A. are dominated by unlisted dispensaries. Legitimate shops, which can only sell cannabis at locations that meet specific requirements, such as being a certain distance away from a school, are more prevalent in the San Fernando Valley.

Exact statistics on the issue are difficult to find. A representative for the state Bureau of Cannabis Control said the agency did not have readily available data about illegal operators in California, and Los Angeles officials have never made public an exact number of illegal storefronts. The L.A. Police Department, however, has estimated the number of unregistered shops to be “less than 300.”

Marijuana advocates say Los Angeles’ struggle to curtail illegal activity is more severe than other cities in California, a result of years of allowing marijuana businesses to operate in a quasi-legal status in which they received limited immunity from prosecution.

“This is really a Los Angeles phenomenon … I can’t tell you where there would be an unlicensed dispensary operating in Oakland or San Francisco,” said Dale Gieringer, director of California’s branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Indeed, authorities tasked with overseeing the marijuana industry in San Francisco and Long Beach, said the number of unregulated dispensaries in those cities does not exceed the number of licensed operators.

Owners of legal stores in Los Angeles say illegal shops have a massive competitive advantage, as they offer lower prices by skirting the state’s 15% cannabis sales tax as well as the city’s 10% rate.

“The frustration for us is twofold,” said Carlos de la Torre, who founded the Cornerstone Research Collective in Eagle Rock. “Our businesses are suffering tremendously now because we’re having to compete in an unfair playing field, and we’ve spent all this time and energy and resources crafting something that should be really cut and dry, and it feels like [the city is] not really holding their end of the bargain up.”

Opinion: California’s cannabis marketplace is a mess. Here’s how to fix it »

The proliferation of illegal stores affects marijuana customers, legal owners and government coffers. Aside from undercutting legal operators and curbing tax revenues, city officials are concerned about the health risks posed by stores whose wares are not tested by state regulators.

Some owners contend that many customers don’t know the difference between legal and illegal marijuana businesses, and fear they are losing out by complying with state and city tax codes.

“The only bad reviews I get are ‘Oh, you’re trying to rip us off, these prices are too expensive,’” said Jerrod Kiloh, owner of the Higher Path dispensary in Sherman Oaks and president of the United Cannabis Business Assn. “I think a lot of them don’t understand that the cost of doing business has gone up quite a bit.”

Many legal owners say the problem is exacerbated by Weedmaps, a Yelp-like service for marijuana businesses.

“Without the voice that Weedmaps gives, 80% of them would disappear,” De La Torre said.

Weedmaps did not respond to a request for comment.

Despite business owners’ frustrations, the website is something of a double-edged sword: Officials with both the LAPD and the city attorney’s office have said they use the online platform to identify targets for enforcement.

Still, council members and legal operators have criticized those agencies in recent months, arguing that a lack of stringent enforcement has allowed unlawful shops to flourish.

After recreational sales became legal in January 2018, obtaining funding and resources for enforcement has become a tougher sell within the LAPD, said Det. Lou Turriaga, a director with the Los Angeles Police Protective League. Until recently, Turriaga said, the department’s cannabis support unit was operating on a “bare-bones budget.” Local narcotics investigators are unlikely to prioritize enforcement against illicit dispensaries over other kinds of drug crime or violence in their divisions, he said.

The city has signaled it will take cannabis enforcement more seriously this year. Funding has been earmarked for cannabis regulation and a public awareness campaign to help customers learn to spot illegal sellers. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s 2019 budget pushes $10 million toward the LAPD for cannabis enforcement. And an ordinance introduced by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez also could result in illegal dispensary owners, and those they rent property from, having to cover the costs of any enforcement efforts enacted at their business.

Despite the large number of illegal businesses still operating in the city, officials contend they have aggressively pursued the issue. Since early 2018, City Atty. Mike Feuer said, his office has brought charges against more than 850 defendants and shut down 114 storefronts — with “many more on the way.”

Feuer acknowledged the difficulty in permanently shutting down illegal operators. He said many of the stores his office has pursued have returned under different names, sometimes at the same location. Recently, the agency has begun to target property owners and more aggressively impose financial penalties, in the hopes that massive fines will act as deterrents.

Last month Feuer sued a South L.A. dispensary for selling cannabis that had been treated with a fungicide, which could result in millions in damages against the business.

“This is not just a question of supply, it’s also a question of demand,” he said. “I want very much for the message to be clear to potential buyers of recreational marijuana that it’s just not worth the risk to go to an unpermitted location because they don’t test their product and God knows what’s in their product.”

In March, the City Council passed an ordinance allowing the Department of Water & Power to shut off utilities at prohibited dispensaries. Shutoffs have been conducted at approximately 90 storefronts in the last two months, according to Det. Vito Ceccia of the LAPD’s Gang and Narcotics Division. Most of the early efforts were concentrated in the Valley, though recently the department has begun focusing on outlaw operators in South L.A.

Investigators believe the utility shutoffs are more efficient than serving search warrants in pursuit of criminal prosecutions that will probably result only in misdemeanor charges. On a recent afternoon, utility workers and detectives from the LAPD’s Harbor Division cut the power at four illegal shops in less than three hours. Ceccia said they would have been able to execute only one search warrant in the same time frame.

“We see an uptick in these businesses opening up because it’s so profitable, especially if they’re not paying the taxes they’re supposed to be paying,” he said. “A majority of them have reopened and that’s why we’re looking at our partners like DWP to find other resources beyond law enforcement and traditional methods in order to shut these places down.”

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Police can still seize marijuana and cash from an illegal business if they execute a search warrant in a criminal investigation. But with all criminal penalties for illegal sale or cultivation of marijuana reduced to misdemeanors under Proposition 64, city officials believe civil fines and utility shutdowns are more effective and less labor intensive.

In Los Angeles, Feuer said his office can push for a $2,500-per-day unfair competition penalty against illegal sellers. Under the voter initiative that established Los Angeles’ marijuana market, the city can also seek a $20,000 daily penalty against illegal operators, though Feuer has rarely used this tactic and said it had yet to be “tested in court.”

Many involved in the cannabis industry also have expressed frustration that regulators have been slow to approve dispensary permits — especially those that would fall under a social equity program meant to allow members of communities most affected by criminal marijuana enforcement to get into the legal market.

The city is expected to issue another 250 storefront licenses, which would more than double the number of legal dispensaries in the city, but that process will not begin until September at the earliest, said Sylvia Robledo, public information director for the Department of Cannabis Regulation. The agency expects to be able to issue approximately 400 licenses before it buts up against the city’s restrictions against having too many dispensaries concentrated in any particular neighborhood.

The long-term effect of the city’s enforcement strategies is unclear.

Although the utility shutdowns have disrupted some operations, many businesses have also simply reopened after obtaining an external generator. The detective who guessed the White Castle dispensary near Wilmington would be back in business in a week was almost right.

An employee confirmed the shop was open when a Times reporter called 10 days later.

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