Cease and desist orders given to four unlicensed D.C. dispensaries


Cease and desist orders were served to four popular unlicensed D.C. dispensaries on July 2, 2024.

City investigators delivered the orders after emergency legislation passed last week to expand the Alcohol Beverage and Cannabis Administration’s power to close unlicensed operators. ABCA was already able to deliver cease and desist orders, but last week’s legislation gives the agency more power to follow up and force the business to close, including padlocking the stores like New York City officials.

ABCA gave unlicensed operators three months to transition to the legal market. Less than 100 shops applied despite estimates of hundreds in the city. A few of the first shops to apply already opened as legal dispensaries. The medical market is struggling in the city causing the legal market to pressure officials to close unlicensed shops that are leaching business from regulated dispensaries.

ABCA has delivered warnings to 49 stores over three and a half months, but the four cease and desist orders delivered Tuesday were the first serious enforcement effort. These orders will allow ABCA to refer unlicensed businesses to other law enforcement agencies (if they haven’t already been).  

The cease-and-desist orders were not given to all previously warned businesses. Many operators who have been warned are still operating, including a business who’s weed was allegedly contaminated with amphetamines.

The cease-and-desist orders name businesses, owners and landlords. The orders accuse the businesses of selling cannabis products in a commercial manner not in compliance with I-71 or other District laws.

The following businesses received cease-and-desist orders but were not padlocked as of Wednesday.

    • Henry Egbarin, and RS Holdings, LLC (Hotbox has two other locations)
  2. Smoke Island
    • Mohammed Aljoumari and landlords Margaret D. Grove and Charles W. Davis
  3. Safe House (The Safe House CBD Center, LLC)
    • Margaret Villalobos; Marquis Childress; Abbas Fathi; and H Street Development Group, LLC
  4. All American Papers (American Legends, LLC)
    • Lee Pauly, JP Therman, Ramon Roque, and Rhami Investment, Inc


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