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LA Wants To Charge Illegal Pot Shops For The Work It Takes To Shut Them Down

Marijuana plants are seen inside a green house, on October 10, 2010 (David Buimovitch/AFP/Getty Images).
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Property owners that rent to illegal pot shops may soon feel the wrath of the city.

The Los Angeles City Council moved forward Wednesday with a proposal that would charge those businesses, as well as the owners they rent from, for any activity related to shutting the businesses down, including costs associated with LAPD enforcement, shutting off the retailers' utilities, and legal fees from the city attorney's involvement in such cases.

The motion, originally brought in April by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, passed unanimously.

Rodriguez said that she believes some property owners who rent to illegal cannabis businesses have been "skirting the law" and "trying to make fast money," and that some may even be in on the take.

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"What we have found is that many are complicit in the business themselves," she said. "So we are going to shut them down, and we are gonna give them the bill."

Rodriguez also compared the effort to clearing brushes that may pose a fire danger.

"If the city has to go out at their cost to do brush clearance, the property owners get the bill," she said. "It's with the same approach that I am looking to make sure that taxpayers aren't going to be held liable for public safety hazards that are being created by property owners."

The proposal is now in the city attorney's hands, to draft an ordinance that would allow L.A. to begin recouping costs.

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