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Watch: Inside LA’s Secret Black Market Weed Packaging Mecca

This article was originally published on Cash Only. Sign up for the newsletter and follow Cash Only on Twitter

Cash Only visited downtown LA’s wholesale cannabis packaging district — a micro-neighborhood where smoke shops and black market weed ops can get the materials to make counterfeit products such as mylar bags, flower jars, vape carts, edibles packaging, and much more.

If you want to start an underground weed brand — or bootleg an established brand like Cookies, Jeeter Juice, or Raw Garden — this is where you design and buy your wares in bulk. It’s essentially an IRL Alibaba.

The district’s accessibility has enabled a game of cat-and-mouse between licensed cannabis brands and savvy entrepreneurs looking to profit off the former’s likeness. If a legal brand adds something to its packaging, such as a QR code or holographic sticker, the bootleggers can purchase the updated product at a legal dispensary, bring it to the wholesale packaging area, and have the item copied and counterfeited that very same day.

Every time you see a counterfeit or unlicensed pot product in a New York bodega, such as Flamin’ Hot Weedos or mylar bags with stoned Rick and Morty on them, it likely came from this part of LA. Watch as we explore the area and highlight a major part of the underground weed ecosystem that is hiding in plain sight.

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About Zach Sokol

Zach Sokol is a writer, editor, and the founder of www.cashonly.studio. He is also the co-editor of Sex Magazine. Previously, he was the editor of MERRY JANE, an editor at VICE, and has written extensively for publications like Playboy, Penthouse, i-D, Double Blind, and more. Visit his website www.zachsokol.com and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @zachsokol.

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