LOS ANGELES (AP) — An unlicensed marijuana dispensary sold cannabis sprayed with a dangerous pesticide, the city of Los Angeles said in a lawsuit Wednesday that’s part of a wide-ranging crackdown on illegal pot sales.
Marijuana sold at Kush Club 20 contained paclobutrazol, a fungicide frequently used on golf course turf that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies as a toxic chemical, City Attorney Mike Feuer said.
A phone number listed for Kush Club 20 was disconnected, and an email seeking comment was not immediately returned.
The lawsuit seeks to shut down the business and asks the court to award a civil penalty of $20,000 for each day that illegal activity occurred at the property in South Los Angeles.
The case is believed to be the first in the state where illegal pesticide was found at a marijuana dispensary, officials said.
“Customers patronize illegal shops at their peril, and undermine businesses who play by the rules — and whose product is tested to protect buyers’ health,” Feuer said in a statement.
There are about 180 dispensaries with approval to sell marijuana in Los Angeles. The city is cracking down on hundreds of black market shops that lure customers hoping to avoid paying the state’s 15% tax on legal marijuana sales.
In the last year, the city attorney’s office said it has filed 217 criminal cases involving illegal cannabis shops or delivery services, naming more than 800 defendants. At least 113 illegal dispensaries have been closed, officials said.
The United Cannabis Business Association, which represents pot retailers in California, said in a statement that it supports Feuer’s targeting of shops that operate illegally and sell untested products.
“We expect these lawsuits will deter other illegal enterprises that endanger the public and poison the community,” said Ruben Honig, executive director of the Los Angeles-based association.