BCC Sends Warning Letters To Landlords Renting To Illegal Cannabis Businesses

The legal cannabis market in California has been locked in a seemingly unending battle with the firmly-established black market ever since the passage of Prop 64 in 2016.

But even as the Californian world of illicit cannabis continues to hold strong in the middle of a legal-but-struggling regulated market, those involved in the fight against the illegal marijuana trade show no signs of letting up.

The California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) last week issued hundreds of warning letters to landlords in the state, notifying them that their properties are being used for illegal cannabis activity.

In the letters, the BCC advises landlords that they may be held liable and subject to criminal and civil penalties for allowing tenants to engage in unlicensed cannabis activity on their rental properties.

“This action is an important step in the state’s effort to combat the illegal cannabis market,” said BCC Chief Lori Ajax. “It is our hope that by detailing the penalties faced by landlords who rent their space to illegal operators, landlords will better understand the severe consequences that could come with knowingly facilitating illegal commercial cannabis activity and those currently breaking the law will have fewer options where they can conduct their business.”

Under current state law, it is a criminal offense for landlords to allow their rented properties to be used for illegal cannabis activity, and operators are subject to criminal penalties such as asset forfeiture.

Landlords or other individuals who aid and abet in illegal activity such as unlicensed cannabis production can be held liable for crimes as if they committed them.

California Health and Safety Codes state that landlords may also be subject to fines and civil liability on top of criminal charges and incur fines of up to $30,000 per day for illegal cannabis activity.

California law requires all cannabis businesses to retain valid licenses to operate legally in the state.