Black Market Crackdown: LA Charges 515 People with Running Illegal Pot Businesses

420 FILE--Los Angeles is on the lookout for businesses selling marijuana without the required permits and licenses.

Prosecutors in Los Angeles have charged 515 people for helping to run 105 illegal marijuana operations, the City Attorney’s office said Friday.

The sweep is part of an effort to level the financial playing field for licensed cannabis businesses, which have suffered by competing with black market operators who remain active despite new licensing requirements and regulations that kicked in Jan. 1.

“Our message is clear: If you are operating an illegal cannabis business you will be held accountable,” Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said.

After months of only issuing warning notices, state officials announced in August that they were starting to pursue criminal charges against unlicensed cannabis retailers, distributors and growers. (Read the rest.)