City officials have shut down nearly 20 marijuana dispensaries operating without permits in the past 60 days, city officials announced Tuesday.
SoCal Holistics closed its doors last week after defying a police and court order for several weeks. It was the 18th medical marijuana dispensary to close its doors in the past 60 days.
The move comes as the San Diego City Council paves the way for a limited number of legal medical marijuana dispensaries to open after new regulations amendments were approved in January. The city’s first legal dispensary won approval at the end of January.
The city has closed approximately 250 dispensaries since 2011.
The City Attorney’s Office obtained a court order against SoCal Holisitics, located at 1150 Garnet Ave in Pacific Beach, on Feb. 13 and posted it to the property the same date.
San Diego Police went to the property a few days later, on Feb. 18, and shut it down. Officials found that the dispensary re-opened the next day. Police then returned to the property to cite a security guard for violating the court order and shut the illegal dispensary down again, they said, only to find it had re-opened the next day.
On Feb. 20, when police returned to the dispensary, they arrested the “bud tender” for violating the order. Police once again shut down the dispensary.
During this time, the dispensary’s operator, Ryan Murphy, had been in contact with the City Attorney’s Office through his lawyer. The dispensary closed last week after discussions between the two sides.
Dispensary owners that violate the law can face civil penalties.
“There is no justification for violating the law or violating a court order,” City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said in a statement. “The City of San Diego now has zoning for dispensaries under certain approved conditions and operators must follow the law. We will continue to close down dispensaries that violate the City’s zoning laws.”
Goldsmith said the City Attorney’s Office believes there are more dispensaries operating illegally and encourages anyone with information to come forward.
Complaints regarding marijuana dispensaries may be referred to the Code Enforcement Division of the City at (619) 236-5500.