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Letter: Black market cannabis sellers must be put out of business

First day of legal marijuana sales in California, Jan. 1, 2018.
The owner of Glendale’s Cornerstone Wellness urges cannabis users to consider safety issues involved with products sold on the black market. Above, a budtender helps a customer on the first day of legal sales in California, Jan. 1, 2018.
(Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images)

In 1969, a Gallup poll showed only 11% of Americans thought marijuana should be legal. Over 50 years, the nation’s attitude has shifted significantly. Today, cannabis is recognized for its medicinal benefits and recreational attributes. A recent Hill-Harris poll found a whopping 84% of Americans support legalization.

Since cannabis was legalized in California, Los Angeles emerged as the largest U.S. city with a legal pot marketplace. Consumers in Los Angeles County can enjoy shopping at one of 100 legal dispensaries.

However, the illegal market persists. When unlicensed cannabis businesses refuse to participate in the legal market, they forgo quality assurance checks and safety inspections, evade taxes, and create unfair competition for legitimate business owners.

Black market operators in California must become legal businesses and sell safe products. Lab testing and quality assurance protect consumers from the dangerous products often found in products sold in the illegal market, including but not limited to dangerous levels of pesticides, bacteria, mold, metals, mites, solvents and fecal matter.


To aid consumers in locating legal businesses, the Bureau of Cannabis Control recently set up a search tool to help find licensed locations at, along with a statewide campaign Get #weedwise, to help consumers understand the dangers of purchasing untested, unlicensed products.

By shopping with legal cannabis retailers, consumers drive bad players in the industry out of business and ensure the product they’re buying is tested and approved. In Los Angeles County including Glendale, consumers hold the key to creating a safe, fair industry that benefits the entire community.

Carlos de la Torre
Owner, Cornerstone Wellness in Glendale
Co-founder, United Cannabis Business Assn.

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