With an unofficial marijuana holiday for pot smokers just around the corner, two Los Angeles city councilmen Friday encouraged Angelenos to not only consume responsibly, but to also purchase the drug responsibly at licensed shops.
In a video posted to social media, City Councilmen Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Joe Buscaino informed cannabis users there are 181 licensed and legal shops in the city competing with hundreds of illegal ones as they get ready to celebrate April 20 on Saturday, commonly called 4/20 or “420” in cannabis culture.
In the video, Harris-Dawson said the sales at illegal shops are costing the city an estimated $70 million in revenue annually, and Buscaino said they were encouraging people to consume cannabis responsibly.
“This includes buying your cannabis responsibly. These hundreds of unlicensed shops are undercutting those that have gone through the legal process and are following the rules,” Harris-Dawson said.
The city is in the process of shutting down unlicensed shops by shutting off their utilities, and City Attorney Mike Feuer this week filed the city’s first civil case against a group of people and companies allegedly associated with an unlicensed shop. The shop was also selling pot that was allegedly using a dangerous pesticide on its products.
“Unlicensed shops sell unregulated products,” Buscaino said. “Many of these products, like edibles, and vape products are considered counterfeit, and may not communicate accurate doses, or may contain pesticides and foreign materials — something the legal, licensed shops must test for.”
The councilmen urged consumers to check the city’s website before they shop to ensure they are purchasing from legal businesses.
The exact origin of the 4/20 celebration is not totally known, although Time magazine said the most common belief is that it began with a group of California teens in the 1970s who used to smoke pot every day at 4:20 p.m.
One of the teens went on to become a roadie for the Grateful Dead’s bassist Phil Lesh, and on Dec. 28, 1990, a group of Deadheads in Oakland handed out fliers that invited people to smoke “420” on April 20 at 4:20 p.m.
High Times magazine printed the flier in 1991, which solidified the date and time in cannabis culture, according to Time.
The city councilmen’s video can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhiYxjeIdJY&feature=youtu.be.
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