Dispensary Lawsuit Alleges Bribes, Excessive Force

MJBizCon 2023 tickets are now on sale! Discover the business solutions to elevate your cannabis retail game. Buy your ticket today.

A dispensary in Santa Ana, California, has filed a lawsuit alleging the city’s mayor took bribes from competing medical marijuana businesses and that the police department used excessive force during a raid last month.

The suit, filed on behalf of Sky High Holistic, alleges Mayor Miguel Pulido and other city officials accepted cash, limousine services and other gifts from cannabis entrepreneurs in exchange for political favors tied to a measure establishing regulations on dispensaries in the city, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Sky High claims that the city hired a person to solicit $25,000 in payments from dispensaries to support Measure BB, one of two initiatives before voters in November.

In exchange, companies that paid the fee would receive preferential treatment in a lottery system that would be used to select 20 dispensaries to legally operate in the city should the measure pass, which it did with 66% voter approval, the newspaper reported.

Sky High Holistic didn’t receive a permit in the lottery.

Pulido said the allegations are “categorically and absolutely false” and that he had “absolutely zero” involvement in the lottery process, according to the Times.

The suit also claims that police used strong-arm tactics against dispensaries. A video allegedly shows police officers playing darts, making demeaning comments about a woman in a wheelchair and eating edibles.