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BCC Sends Warning Letters To Landlords of Illegal Cannabis Businesses

Nov 26, 2019

SACRAMENTO – In its continuing effort to combat the state’s illegal cannabis market, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (Bureau) recently sent hundreds of letters notifying landlords that the Bureau has information their property is being used for illegal cannabis activity. These letters warn landlords that they may personally be subject to criminal and civil penalties for allowing illegal cannabis activity to occur on their property.

“This action is an important step in the state’s effort to combat the illegal cannabis market,” Bureau Chief Lori Ajax said. “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 businesses.”

Examples of the types of penalties outlined in the letter include California Health and Safety Code section 11366.5, subdivision (a), which makes it a criminal offense to allow property to be used for any illegal cannabis activity. Additionally, illegal operators are subject to forfeiture and other criminal penalties. A person who aids and abets in the commission of a crime, including unlicensed cannabis activity, may be held liable for the crime as if the person directly committed the offense.

In addition to criminal liability, landlords may be subject to fines and civil liability. Business and Professions Code section 26031.5 allows for the imposition of fines up to $30,000 per day for illegal cannabis activity.

All commercial cannabis activity in California must be conducted on a premises with a valid state license. Manufacturing, distributing or selling cannabis goods without a state license or at a location that is not licensed is a violation of state law. To file a complaint regarding illegal activity, click here – Enforcement Online Services.

The best way to find out if a business is licensed is to go to and enter the name of the business or the physical address.

To subscribe to email alerts to hear about updates as they become available, please visit the Bureau’s website at For information on all three state cannabis licensing authorities, please visit the state’s California Cannabis Portal at Follow the Bureau on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for daily news and updates.

Those looking to get in touch with the Bureau of Cannabis Control may contact us directly through email at