When millions in taxes owed by 10 Los Angeles cannabis businesses went up in smoke, California officials opted for a more hands-on way to get their green.
The state’s tax agency took what it could find in the pot shops and is putting it all up for auction.
Despite the origin of the auction items, attendees shouldn’t expect to see any actual Mary Jane at the sale on Feb. 16 in the parking lot of the California Highway Patrol office on West Washington Boulevard.
Items up for grabs range from the expected — such as glass bongs and pipes — to the curious — including a raffle wheel and a wide selection of sandwich boards.
The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration and the California Highway Patrol seized the items now up for sale from the marijuana shops while executing search warrants to collect unpaid taxes. Nine of the 10 were illegal businesses operating in Los Angeles and one was a legal dispensary, according to officials with the tax agency.
In total, the businesses owe the state more than $14.4 million, officials said.
The goods seized from each of the businesses will be clustered into 10 individual lots, one from each shop. Interested attendees will have to bid on the lot as a whole, not individual items.
So if a person wants the box of bongs available in one lot, they’ll also have to take the La-Z-Boy chair and wall clock. Listen, the tax man makes the rules.
This is the first time the agency is auctioning personal property taken from a weed business. The department has in the past sold only commercial property seized from illegal pot shops to collect unpaid tax money.
In March 2022, the agency auctioned off properties in Whittier and Compton that belonged to cannabis operators accused of not paying taxes.
Between 2020 and 2022, the state had seized more than $32 million in cash and products from such businesses. As of this year, the amount seized has grown to $90 million, officials wrote in a news release.
“Seizing and auctioning property from cannabis businesses that evade the law is a tool to recover the taxes owed to the state,” said Nick Maduros, director of the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration .
It’s also a chance to get that snow cone machine you’ve had your eye on. As long as you’re also in the market for a monitor, five TVs, five cash drawers, three bongs, a speaker, a ladder, two sandwich boards, a projector, crowd control poles, drop boxes, two cameras, brackets, a raffle wheel, a spin wheel and shelves. And don’t forget about the four boxes of miscellaneous office supplies.