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Firefighters extinguish flames in possible grow house in La Habra

LA HABRA — Firefighters Saturday put out flames inside a La Habra home and discovered it might have housed an illegal marijuana growing operation, authorities said.

The fire was reported about 5:15 p.m. in the 1000 block of North Orange Street, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, which serves this Orange County city.

Firefighters reported smoke was showing from a well-involved attic fire, officials said.

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Pot ‘smurfs’ and ‘loopers’ playing with fire, feds warn

Weed “smurfs” and “loopers” are being warned any attempt to stock up on pot products to sell on the black market could spark the interest of federal agents.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling and the Drug Enforcement Administration both vowed on Wednesday to continue to crack down on weed violations, including “smurfing” — buying the maximum allowable amount of marijuana from multiple dispensaries for the purpose of selling it illegally, often across state lines.

“As I have said in the past, the U.S. Attorney’s Office continues to pursue marijuana enforcement and will review potential matters on a case-by-case basis,” Lelling said in a statement. “We continue to police interstate transportation of marijuana along with incoming or outgoing shipments of cash and use of the federal banking system.”

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Legal weed didn’t stop illegal deals

It wasn’t so long ago that marijuana was illegal in Massachusetts. But even though cannabis sales and use have the green light in the Bay State, illicit deals haven’t disappeared — they’ve just been refined.

In Massachusetts, marijuana retailers are prohibited from knowingly selling more than one ounce of pot or its dry-weight equivalence to a customer within a single day. Illicit dealers get around that by visiting a licensed cannabis store several times in one day, buying the maximum allowed on each visit, aka “looping.” They also visit several shops to make buys on the same day, known as “smurfing.”

Armed with fresh supplies, they either sell across state lines, or to local customers.

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For drug-burdened neighborhoods, pot shops aren’t a blessing

I am all for equity in the marijuana business and opportunities for communities of color. I congratulate new pot shop owners Kobie Evans of Dorchester and his business partner Kevin Hart on getting their license to open Boston’s first recreational marijuana shop, Pure Oasis, in the Grove Hall neighborhood.

I welcome business opportunities for folks of color because I know they don’t come easy. And these legal cannabis retail opportunities are a kind of compensation for the fact that minorities received particularly harsh sentencing for marijuana-related crimes before it was legal here. But like many of my neighbors, I am concerned about how a legal drug business opportunity  and a community hard hit by illegal drugs can co-exist.

Like many of my neighbors, I am concerned about the proliferation of pot shops here. At one time every open storefront from Roxbury to Mattapan was in consideration. Forget about how close they were to schools, or that many were not true minority-owned ventures. What we have here is a gold rush.

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Need a legal pot shop in California? Grab your smartphone

By MICHAEL R. BLOOD | The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES  — Want to find a legal marijuana shop in California? Grab your smartphone.

In another step to curb the state’s flourishing illegal pot market, California regulators proposed rules Thursday that would require legal shops to post a unique black-and-white code in storefront windows to help consumers identify licensed businesses.

RAND: Curtailing illicit pot market will take ‘years’

It will likely take years for Massachusetts to put a dent in the illicit marijuana market, according to a researcher who found that to be the case in Washington state.

Three years after state-licensed cannabis stores in Washington opened in July 2014, roughly half of the recreational and medical marijuana consumed by residents was still coming from the illicit market, said Beau Kilmer, director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center.

“You’re not going to eliminate the illicit market overnight,” Kilmer said. “It’s going to take years.”

Read the rest of this story on BostonHerald.com.

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