Padlocks, utilities cutoffs and $20K daily fines: How LA’s pot czar wants to penalize landlords of illegal cannabis tenants

LA Department of Cannabis Regulation Executive Director Cat Packer
LA Department of Cannabis Regulation Executive Director Cat Packer

The City of Los Angeles to landlords renting to unlicensed cannabis businesses: Go straight or it’ll cost you.

Property owners who rent to cannabis businesses best make sure their tenants have their t’s crossed and i’s dotted because the city will soon vote on a set of enforcement regulations, said Cat Packer, the executive director of the L.A. Department of Cannabis Regulation, at a Bisnow event last week.

“Property owners specifically have been left out of this conversation in terms of enforcement,” Packer said. “I am recommending to go after property owners… You can’t have illegal activity without property.”

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Packer wants the city to finally start handing out a $20,000 daily fine to landlords for allowing unlicensed operations at their properties. That penalty was approved by voters in 2017 through Measure M, which lays out taxation and enforcement measures on medical and recreational marijuana providers.

Now, Packer is also pushing for the city to shut off utilities for unlicensed operators and padlock their storefronts.

There’s other benefits to leasing to licensed cannabis tenants: Those businesses are often willing to pay top dollar for space because it’s in such short supply. Some commercial firms have started funds to buy up space to rent to licensed cannabis operations.

Still, Packer said that there were seven unlicensed cannabis operations for every one licensed operation and that the LAPD doesn’t have the resources to handle that level of enforcement yet. [Bisnow]Dennis Lynch