San Diego cracking down on illegal marijuana dispensaries

The city of San Diego has launched a campaign to crack down on illegal medical marijuana dispensaries and is asking residents to purchase MMJ only from licensed shops, a sign that authorities are trying to rein in the local black market.

The “Buy Safe, Buy Legal” campaign was launched Thursday through a partnership of the United Medical Marijuana Coalition (UMMC) and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, according to

The City Attorney’s office has shut down about 300 unlicensed dispensaries, but some have refused to close. Consequently, the city obtained search warrants for 12 dispensaries that refused to shutter themselves. Nine dispensary owners have been charged and could face jail time, the outlet reported.

San Diego passed medical marijuana regulations in 2014 that capped the number of dispensaries at 36. Fourteen are operating, and six are under construction. Some observers contend the relatively small number of dispensaries have not been able to meet MMJ demand, thus creating a market for illegal dispensaries.