More Dispensary Raids in SoCal

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Authorities in Southern California continue to target marijuana dispensaries.

On Wednesday, police in Pomona, California raided the People’s First Wellness Center and seized marijuana flowers and edibles, as well as computer equipment, cellphones and paperwork. Police said they could charge the business owner for zoning violations and operating without a business license.

Pomona is part of Los Angeles county, and it is located 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

The raid comes just two days after authorities raided four dispensaries in the town of Needles. Police there said they raided the businesses because the owners were selling to customers with out-of-state licenses, and because the owners themselves were residents of Arizona.

The Pomona raid followed six months of legal disputes between the business owner and local politicians, who had been using zoning regulations and legal proceedings to force the dispensary to cease operations. Dispensaries are forbidden from operating within the city limits in Pomona, however the People’s First Wellness Center had filed a suit against the city arguing that the ban violated its First Amendment rights.

City Attorney Andrew Jared said the business owner was allowed to open because he assured politicians that no marijuana sales would occur at the business; instead it would be a place to learn about medical marijuana. When officials learned the business had violated its agreement, it slapped the owner with a suit.

Police then went undercover to purchase marijuana products. They said they also received complaints that customers had gotten sick after purchasing marijuana wax from the shop.

Authorities must now make their case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office to permanently shut down the dispensary. They will likely succeed. Los Angeles has been cracking down on unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries for the past few months under the controversial Proposition D, which allows only 135 businesses to operate in Los Angeles.