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California Police Auctioning Off Seized Cannabis Merchandise

Emily Mullins

by Emily Mullins

February 15, 2024 11:25 am ET Estimated Read Time: 2 Minutes
Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho
California Police Auctioning Off Seized Cannabis Merchandise

When underground cannabis shops are raided, what happens to the products in the store? We can tell you–the local police department auctions them off.

Ten Los Angeles-based cannabis businesses were recently raided. Of the 10, nine were shops operating illegally and one was evading taxes. Collectively, the ten dispensaries owe more than $14.4 million in unpaid taxes. The Los Angeles Police Department collected bongs, cannabis manufacturing equipment, and furnishings including a snow cone machine, artwork, TVs, cameras, a refrigerator, and other miscellaneous office supplies.

All of the money and proceeds earned at the auction will go towards paying the tax debt owed by the raided dispensaries. All items will be sold as is to the highest bidder, and sales are final. Some items will be sold in groups, and purchasers will be required to collect all the items in the group.

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This sale marks the first time the state of California has done an auction like this. It will be held on February 16, 2024, at 777 W. Washington Blvd. in Los Angeles, and bidding will begin at 10:00 a.m.

Although California was the first state to legalize medicinal cannabis in 1996, followed by recreational marijuana in 2016, the underground market is still thriving. Police departments are performing huge busts on a regular basis, with thousands of pounds of cannabis and similar products seized each year. Some reports have found that rates of cannabis smuggling within the state have actually increased since legalization.

Not only does the black market put a strain on law enforcement, but it also means millions of potential tax dollars are not going back to the public. Tax evasion is one of the primary reasons that such a large number of businesses operate illegally, but they also face difficulties as the California cannabis market can be quite challenging to navigate. Additionally, many retailers illegally export cannabis to other states and markets for profit.

If the auction held Friday goes well, state residents may see the Los Angeles police selling more seized goods to recoup these losses.

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