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LA City Council Sparks New, Unconventional Plan To Crack Down On Unlicensed Dispensaries

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The City of Los Angeles has a new plan to crack down on illegal pot shops: turn off the facilities' lights and water.

The problem of unlicensed dispensaries has blown up since recreational marijuana sales became legal.

"The illegal operators are not complying with any of the rules and regulations and don't have the licenses," said L.A. City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said it's time to come down hard on illegal pot shops and is pushing for an ordinance to allow authorities to shut off lights and water to the unlicensed businesses.

"It's a common sense approach to make sure we shut down illegal activity," she said.

At this stage, the council has only approved the drafting of an ordinance. But Rodriguez is optimistic that the plan will ultimately go into effect. She says illegal pot sales in sections of her district of Sylmar are surging.

"We were seeing the proliferation in areas of my district where we were seeing illegal operators in neighborhoods," Rodriguez said.

Neighborhoods with schools or other childcare facilities where legal dispensaries are banned.

Some people who live and work in the area say action is needed, but opinions are mixed on plan to shut down the illegal pot shops.

"Obviously, laws are completely useless if we don't have a way of enforcing them. So clearly if they're illegal, then we don't have good enough systems in place to enforce those laws. I'm not sure that just shutting off the utilities is going to help," one woman said.

In the past 12 months in northeast San Fernando Valley alone, two dozens unlicensed dispensaries have been shut down.

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