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Police Serve Search Warrant, Arrest Four, Shut Down Illegal Cannabis Dispensary

Business under scrutiny by Pasadena’s code enforcement section is shut down

Published on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 | 12:43 pm
 

Saying they acted on complaints to the police department. about an illegal cannabis dispensary at 219 N. Sierra Madre Blvd., officers served a search warrant at that location Wednesday and arrested four employees, seized marijuana, marijuana products and cash, authorities said.

Police spokesman Lt. William Grisafe said two men and two women were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit sales of marijuana.

The dispensary on Sierra Madre Blvd. near East Del Mar Boulevard in District 4 has attracted the city’s attention when it became the first known dispensary to open after the city announced in February it had shut down all unregulated dispensaries operating in the city

The city has fought to close illegal dispensaries for years. By early 2020, Pasadena’s Marijuana Suppression Detail had shut down 19 illegal shops, along with five others that opened, in 17 months.

The unit also closed a grow facility during that time period.

According to the City’s Code Commission, which is scheduled to meet to discuss alleged code violations during a May 28 meeting, the dispensary on N. Sierra Madre has violated the city’s municipal code by engaging in commercial cannabis activity without a permit.

“To my knowledge, the only cannabis dispensary that has opened since February 2020 is the dispensary at 219 N. Sierra Madre Blvd.,” said Code Compliance Manager Jon Pollard. “I know of no other active cannabis dispensaries within the city.”

The commission will also discuss cost recovery associated with abating public nuisance conditions associated with two other closed dispensaries at 775-779 E. Washington Blvd. The city is trying to recoup the $11,686.23 it spent to shut down those operations.

“The city of Pasadena seeks to ensure public health and safety by aggressively identifying and pursuing unlawful dispensaries that engage in the sale of contraband cannabis and contraband cannabis derivatives,” Pollard said. “Those efforts are through the combined work of staff from the Planning & Community Development Department, the Police Department and the City Attorney’s office. The city has a continuum of enforcement options up to and including obtaining abatement warrants to board and secure unlawful dispensaries. The city seeks to be remunerated by the responsible party for abatement costs.”

In 2018, voters passed Measure CC, the city’s highly regulated process which allows only six pot dispensaries — and potentially only one in each of the city’s seven council districts — to operate legally in Pasadena.

The measure also requires dispensaries maintain strict distance limits from schools, libraries, churches and residential neighborhoods. Nearly 200 businesses applied.

After Measure CC passed, the City Council banned so-called “nuisance,” or non-permitted dispensaries from applying for business licenses under the city’s cannabis law.

“It seems that the best method to discourage illicit dispensary operators from opening in Pasadena is to maintain a robust and timely enforcement process,” Pollard said. “The City will diligently pursue complaints regarding illicit cannabis dispensaries and the public can contact me directly at (626) 744-6831 or jpollard@cityofpasadena.net if they would like to report the suspected or confirmed presence of a dispensary in Pasadena.”

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