LOS ANGELES – Today, City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto announced that her office took action and successfully shut down a South L.A. storefront that has been selling cannabis illegally since 2018. In addition to being permanently barred from selling cannabis illegally, the property owner and operators were ordered to pay $450,000 in civil penalties. City of Los Angeles and California state law extensively regulates the commercial sale of cannabis, requiring appropriate licenses and prohibiting property owners from renting to or otherwise allowing unlicensed cannabis activity at their site.
“Cannabis sales in California are regulated for good reason — to ensure that businesses operate safely and legally, keep cannabis from being sold to children and regulate the industry so as to avoid nuisances and undue concentration of cannabis locations in an area,” said L.A. City Attorney Feldstein Soto. “The illegal activity at this store went on for far too long and was alarming for the neighborhood – with guns being recovered by law enforcement and complaints about the store selling cannabis products to minors. That ends now. I’m proud that my office put a stop to this and helped to level the playing field for legitimate business owners who operate by the rules.”
According to the complaint, since 2018, the property building at 2138 West Florence Avenue, which is located within 700 feet of two elementary schools and a library, has operated as an unlicensed – and therefore illegal – commercial cannabis storefront. Over the last four years, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) received numerous complaints about the illegal sale and use of cannabis and cannabis products at this property. The complaints cited heavy pedestrian traffic, numerous car accidents occurring on Florence Avenue, and cannabis being sold to minors. The LAPD executed nine search warrants – each time recovering large amounts of cannabis, cash and guns, and at least four undercover purchase operations. Despite these efforts, the illegal activity persisted as the property owners continued to sell cannabis at this storefront.
The City Attorney’s complaint further alleged that the illegal commercial cannabis sales at this property continued through a series of owner/operators – all who utilized shell companies and LLCs to hide their involvement and shirk responsibility tied to the illegal activity.
The groups of owners, since 2018, include:
- Tony Huang and his companies 2138 W Florence Investment LLC, Group 25 Holdings LLC, and TNS Management Group, LLC.
- Philip Oh and his companies LA Florence Investment LLC and Global Solutions I LLC.
- Jin Kang and his company JYP Investments, LLC, the current property owner.
In addition to the civil penalties and being prevented from the illegal commercial cannabis sales, the property owners and operators will be ordered to pay a minimum of $1 million in civil penalties if they violate the law again.
This litigation was managed by attorneys in the newly formed Public Rights Branch of the City Attorney's Office. City Attorney Feldstein Soto created the Public Rights Branch earlier this year to protect and enforce the rights of California residents in a wide range of legal matters, including unfair or fraudulent business practices, consumer protection, environmental justice, nuisance abatement and intellectual property.
Civil case #22STCV24221: Complaint
The People of the State of California v. Tony Tsungcheng Huang (aka Tony Huang and Tsungcheng Huang), individually and as managing director of TNS Management Group, LLC, a California limited liability company, representative of 2318 W Florence Investment LLC, a California limited liability company, and manager of Group 25 Holdings LLC, a Delaware limited liability company et al.
Hydee Feldstein Soto is the 43rd Los Angeles City Attorney, elected in November 2022 and sworn into office in December 2022. Her team of nearly 1,000 legal professionals, including 500+ attorneys, carries out legal work for the City of Los Angeles at her direction and under her supervision. She is the first female City Attorney in L.A. history.