Up in smoke: Judge rejects LA’s suit against brokers who leased to unlicensed pot shop

City attorney accused Daum commercial brokerage and 2 employees of knowingly renting space to Kush Club 20 in South Park

Mike Feuer, Los Angeles City Attorney (Getty)
Mike Feuer, Los Angeles City Attorney, filed the suit against Daum. (Getty)


A Superior Court judge in Los Angeles has ruled a commercial real estate brokerage and two of its employees cannot be held liable for leasing space to an unlicensed marijuana shop, rejecting the city’s claim.

County Judge Robert Draper’s Jan. 27 decision comes nearly two years after L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer filed the civil suit against Daum, two of its brokers and entities and individuals that leased the South Park shop. Marijuana Business Daily first reported on the judge’s ruling.

The suit alleges violations of L.A.’s municipal code prohibiting the unlicensed sale of cannabis. The city also accused the pot shop, Kush Club 20, of selling pesticide-laced cannabis. The shop, on the border of Central Alameda, billed itself as a medical marijuana dispensary.

The city claimed that Daum and brokers Benjamin Spinner and James Vu knowingly participated in the operation, claiming on lease paperwork that the property was to be used for religious purposes while knowing “the property was to be used as a marijuana dispensary.”

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An attorney for Daum and the brokers said the ruling clears her clients of any wrongdoing. The attorney, Priya Sopori, added the ruling means brokers “do not appear to be included among the parties responsible for illegal conduct that may occur on the property after … the parties have signed a lease agreement.”

L.A. has tried to crack down on illegal cannabis shops in the city but it remains a persistent problem. As of mid-2019, unlicensed shops outnumbered licensed shops.

A group of licensed operators has lobbied the city to put more resources toward shuttering illegal shops.

While the case against Daum was dismissed, the suit is ongoing against three other individuals and two corporations allegedly involved in the operation, according to the report.

[MBD] — Dennis Lynch