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Closing illegal pot shops

On Jan. 27, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to approve a measure introduced by District 2 Supervisor Joel Anderson that increased funding for the closing down of illegal cannabis dispensaries. Anderson’s action was part of the Board’s approval to establish parameters for county staff to put in place and develop future cannabis ordinances. Anderson added $500,000 to the San Diego County Sheriff to take immediate and aggressive action against unlicensed, illegal dispensaries, labs or related facilities.

These actions also include expanding buffer zones up to 1,000 feet from critical neighborhood areas like parks, churches and daycares. Additional provisions opposed ownership and operation of new dispensaries to anyone with a record of violent felonies and ties to organized crime, limiting the number of dispensaries within communities, and transparency and community input from community members, business owners, and the agriculture industry within the unincorporated areas of the county. The county’s Chief Administrative Office will report back to the Board in 90 days with a plan to implement these provisions after receiving input from public Planning Commissions and other community stakeholders.

“I’ve heard the community’s concerns regarding illegal pot shops, and I agree that aggressive enforcement must be implemented,” Anderson said in a press release.

On Jan. 31, the Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant at The Green Room in the 9000 block of Olive Drive in Spring Valley seizing more than 400 pounds of illegal marijuana and $3,500 in cash. Freddie Tyson was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. The County’s Code Compliance Team will visit the site to ensure a complete shutdown of the facility.

Sheriff’s Captain Robert T. Smith, commander of the Sheriff Rancho San Diego Station said that unregulated facilities attract criminals involved in other illicit drugs and are often the catalyst for crime that affects residents and businesses.

“Products sold at unlicensed facilities are cultivated and manufactured using processes which may be harmful to consumers and are often marketed to children,” said Smith.

Anderson said he was thankful for the other three board members who voted for the additional $50,000 over the next six months to crack down on illegal pot shops at a press conference at the Sheriff Rancho San Diego Station on Feb. 1. He said he knew the Department “acted at warp speed” to shutter this illegal activity. The Green Room was located near two churches and around the corner from a neighborhood park.

“There is a big distinction between pot shops that are illegal and marijuana dispensaries that are legal and doing everything right,” said Anderson. “Today people should walk away knowing that the sheriffs, our captain and all of our deputies are working hard to keep our neighborhoods safe.”

Source: East County Californian

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