Police on Monday morning arrested four people and seized about $500,000 worth of cannabis products while serving a warrant at an unlawful dispensary, a lieutenant said.
Those running the dispensary were also allegedly linked to a dispensary where police seized more than $1 million worth of cannabis products last week and more than $5 million worth of products last November, Lt. Dan Peak said.
Monday’s raid happened around 11 a.m. on Broadway between D and Flower streets, according to Peak. Four workers at the dispensary were arrested and then released at the scene.
According to Peak, those arrested Monday were given warnings last Thursday when officers raided another dispensary where they working a few blocks south, on Broadway near Davidson Street.
While serving the search warrant last Thursday, officers seized between $1 million and $2 million in cannabis products, Peak said. A raid at the same location Nov. 1 turned up between $5 million and $10 million in cannabis products.
Though Chula Vista began accepting applications in January 2019 for legal cannabis businesses, the city has not yet approved any applications. The City Council voted in January to hire an investigator primarily focused on unlicensed dispensaries.
As of last Monday, there were roughly 16 unlicensed dispensaries operating in Chula Vista, many of them in buildings that were previously raided and shut down by police.
“It’s a frustrating process,” Peak said Monday over the phone. “It’s almost like you close one down, and they move right down the street and open one up again.”
Peak said the biggest concerns with unlicensed dispensaries are the potentially dangerous work environments and safety hazards. Officers have found dispensaries sometimes place cages over windows and doors that could prevent a quick escape in the event of a fire or other emergency.
“The issue is, they have not been vetted, have not been inspected,” Peak said.