After an important supplier to San Diego's first licensed medical marijuana facility was raided just weeks before harvest, owners have continued operations, unsure about their future.
The company called Grassroots is still growing marijuana exclusively for A Green Alternative dispensary, despite having a roomful of inventory confiscated in June by county drug enforcement officials.
“This is wholly unfair and it makes no sense whatsoever,” said A Green Alternative co-owner Dr. David Blair in an interview Monday.
Earlier this year, the dispensary became the first in San Diego to be granted a conditional use permit, which allows them to legally dispense, grow and deliver medical marijuana. Its Otay Mesa location, which gets its pot through a dozen contracted growers, now serves more than 4,300 patients.
But when Grassroots was raided, the dispensary owners were left to ask if their business is legitimate, why was their supplier targeted?
“There is a lack of coordination not only between the city and county but within the city itself,” Blair said.
Grassroots’ plants, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, were confiscated with no explanation and no arrests. The dispensary's ability to operate was disrupted.
Blaire said when the city created legislation to license dispensaries, leaders gave no guidelines for growing. The state limits what an individual can grow and what a caretaker can grow for an individual, but not how much a dispensary can grow all in one place.
“You have to also provide some guidance to a legal operator to grow for our patients,” Blair said.
According to Blair, the city wanted to provide access to compassionate care, but he questions whether there is will be enough to sustain its practice.
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department told NBC 7 there was no one available Monday to discuss the case. The city, San Diego Police Department, and Councilman David Alvarez — in whose district the dispensary is located — was either unable or unavailable to answer our questions.