Illegal cannabis sellers siphoning legal business: lawsuit – The San Diego Union-Tribune

A group of San Diego County cannabis companies is suing rival dispensaries and manufacturers for allegedly selling chemically synthesized marijuana products that do not comply with state laws.

The plaintiffs accuse the defendants of deliberately circumventing California cannabis rules by engineering hemp-based products that contain more delta-9 THC — or tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive component in pot that is responsible for the high — than is permitted.

The unfair business practices lawsuit asks a San Diego Superior Court judge to do what it says state and federal regulators and prosecutors have not done: put illegal operators out of business so licensed cannabis retailers are no longer threatened by rogue sellers.

The money at stake is immense.

Legal cannabis sales in California reached $5.8 billion in 2021, generating almost $1.4 billion in various state tax revenues, the Department of Tax and Fee Administration reported.

But the numbers have declined since then, with $5.3 billion in legal cannabis sales last year that raised $1.1 billion in state tax revenue. The first six months of this year generated $2.6 billion in legal sales, state records show.

“There is a direct correlation between the explosion of illegal designer drugs that are flooding California communities from defendants and other bad actors,

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