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L.A. Cultivators, Jungle Boys, Raided Over Bogus Late Fees

Tuesday night saw one of Los Angeles’s most storied dispensaries have a rough run-in with law enforcement and The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.

TLC is known as the base of the Jungle Boys. Their success is one of the most notable examples of urban farmers who have successfully bootstrapped their way to the top in today’s cannabis industry. Many others have failed to make it big and had to either sell off their entire crop or go out of business. So as one of the culture’s best success stories in a world of corporate dogs, the community was pissed to see what they had to go through last night. 

Why? Because we’ve watched them jump through every hoop that’s ever existed for the legal cannabis market in L.A. and maintain a quality that is better than most. While some would say, “Well, this is legal cannabis,” in regards to the raid, and wouldn’t be wrong, those with a bit more hope in their hearts would be pissed to see someone who’s done so well up to this point be treated like this.

We are now curious to find out what the outcome was. To find out, we spoke with Ivan of the Jungle Boys. 

“At five o’clock in the evening, we’re all sitting inside of the shop. It’s the first of the month so we’re paying all our bills,” Ivan told Chronic News. “We look up at the camera and see one car, two cars, three cars, four cars, and are like ‘holy shit, they must be chasing someone inside of our building,’ you know? We watched them come up and my first thought was either they’re chasing someone inside of our building or someone that worked for us maybe has a warrant or something.”

The situation quickly became more complicated as they began to observe the officers corralling the employees. Ivan explained the shock of that moment, “We started seeing a round-up of all our employees into the front lobby area and were like, ‘are we fucking raided?’”

While he was staring at the cameras, Ivan immediately called his lawyer. He then explained what happened next, “Right next to the office, two cops come with guns on us, put them in our face, tell us to get to the fucking ground, this is basically a raid, and we’re like what the fuck?” Ivan spent the first hour presuming someone had really screwed up somewhere to cause this kind of event at the shop. 

“I was thinking in my head we owed them millions of dollars,” Ivan said. “I’ve never seen it where you have Highway Patrol undercovers, LAPD, sheriff, every agency there all working together.”

Eventually, the TLC team would discover this was all caused by a fine discrepancy with the CDTFA from when their offices were closed during the pandemic and dispensaries couldn’t pay taxes in cash. They decided to proceed with the action based on the $66,000 amount that the Jungle Boys had already given them a hearing date. 

California’s dispensaries are regularly inspected by the CDTFA. They’ll come in and ask to see your last few invoices to make sure everything is in order. We asked Ivan if, during those site inspections that have increased over the last year, anything seemed off or ever felt like things weren’t cool? He replied that it was always normal. TLC would accept their requests and allow them to speak up. 

But once Ivan realized what was really up, they weren’t going along with this. 

“They’re trying to charge us late fees,” Ivan realized in that moment. “And we appealed that.”

TLC provided all the paperwork to the arriving authorities, but apparently, that still wasn’t enough.

“They won’t talk to our lawyer. They won’t look at the appeal paperwork,” Ivan said as he relived the shock of it all. “They just basically said they’re taking all the money inside the building. I’m like, wait, this is over the $66,000?”

At this point, Ivan’s demeanor started to change. 

“I’m like, fuck you motherfuckers, what the fuck? You’re fucking raiding our building over a fucking dispute that we have a date set that you guys have the email, you guys received it, you guys fucking accepted it! You will receive faxes. All the documentation is here. Here’s what all this means. I thought this was over, like, millions of fucking dollars that we messed up on.”

The CDTFA refunded $174,000 to TLC while Ivan was in rage. Even emptying the tip jars to the counter budtenders was a part of the deal.

“This is our standard procedure for cannabis businesses or any business. We’re not singling out any industry or type of business. If you owe taxes in California, we do our best to collect what is due,” the CDTFA told Chronic News.