California cannabis regulators have revoked the business license of well-known vaporizer brand Kushy Punch after the company was raided last month and found to be operating from an unlicensed facility.
After receiving a complaint about illegal cannabis activity at a location in Canoga Park, California regulators searched the unlicensed facility and seized nearly $21 million of cannabis products held by Vertical Bliss, which does business as Kushy Punch and manufactures and distributes the brand’s products.
The seized merchandise included 7,200 illicit vape cartridges, according to the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC).
An attorney for Kushy Punch lamented the state’s decision and blamed the slow rollout of California’s adult-use cannabis market.
“The More Agency, as the sole owner to all rights to the recipes, formulas and intellectual property pertaining to Kushy Punch, is saddened by the license revocation … ” Eric Shevin, legal counsel for Kushy Punch, wrote in a statement to Marijuana Business Daily.
“We have witnessed what has been termed a cannabis extinction event, as many operators are unable to withstand the licensing delays, costs and onerous taxes that continue to be a barrier for historical brands like Kushy Punch to survive.”
According to BCC spokesman Alex Traverso, Kushy Punch was not selling vape pens from the unlicensed facility, but it was manufacturing and storing them there.
“All commercial cannabis activity in California must be conducted on a premises with a valid license issued by the appropriate state cannabis licensing authority,” California regulators said in a statement.
“Manufacturing, distributing or selling cannabis goods without a state license or at a location that is not licensed is a violation of state law.”
The license revocation comes as the marijuana industry continues to react to a health crisis in which dozens have died and more than a thousand have been sickened by vaping products.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday confirmed 47 deaths and 2,290 illnesses associated with vaping.
Legal cannabis companies say black-market vaporizers are the culprit behind the vaping crisis.
The More Agency is looking for licensed marijuana partners who will continue to provide Kushy Punch’s branded products, according to Shevin.
At the time of the raid, Kushy Punch said it planned to destroy the vape cartridges.
Kushy Punch, which makes both recreational and medical marijuana products, has been operating in California’s MMJ market for more than 20 years.
For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the vaping crisis, click here.
Bart Schaneman can be reached at [email protected]