When California medical marijuana regulations take effect in 2018, producers of edibles, cultivators and other legitimate cannabis product makers will be licensed by the state. And with paperwork in hand, they won't have to worry as much about police. If voters pass Proposition 64, November's recreational weed initiative, those regulations also will essentially protect nonmedical producers who follow the rules.
Until then, cops appear to be having a field day. Because while it's legal for you to walk into the front of a sanctioned dispensary to grab your medication so long as you have a doctor's recommendation, what comes in the back door is subject to raids and a legal gray area.
Case in point: Yesterday morning the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department's Marijuana Dispensary Task Force served a search warrant on a cultivation and production facility and came up with more than $6.7 million worth of product.
Deputies started looking into the operation at a strip mall near a Canyon Country Costco after receiving a tip about alleged illegal drug activity, said Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Sheriff's Department. She says they found 2,484 plants, 200 pounds of dried buds and 50 pounds of pot edibles, "such as cookies." The edibles and buds alone are worth a half-million dollars, cops said.
The plants have a street value of a little more than $6.2 million, they said.
Authorities alleged the operation in "several units" in the 27000 block of Sierra Highway was wired for revenue. "Carbon filters and elaborate air-conditioning systems were among the equipment located in the indoor grow used to produce the marijuana and prevent the odor from filtering out," Navarro-Suarez said.
Three people were detained but only one, an African-American man identified as 28-year-old George Tunis of Los Angeles, was ultimately arrested, she said. He was booked at the sheriff's Santa Clarita station on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale. The $30,000 bail attached to his case was posted, and he was out
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We usually don't point out the race or ethnicity of suspects, but in this case, it might be worth noting that the Drug Policy Alliance, in urging voters to approve recreational legalization in California, found that black Californians were arrested for cannabis violations at 3½ times the rate of whites in 2015.