Pot shops get raided so often in Southern California you'd think medical marijuana was still illegal.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department cast a wide net Wednesday, arresting 11 people and hitting 16 spots that included five dispensaries, two “processing sites,” a growing operations and even a sailboat.
The busts happened in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties. One man, Jason Lockhart, appeared to own at least a few of the dispensaries, but it wasn't clear if he was arrested, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
L.A. Sheriff's Capt. Ralph Ornelas told the paper that the “dispensaries were being run outside the” boundaries of the law and that an alleged failure to pay sales taxes was one of the issues on the table.
State tax and L.A. District Attorney's investigators joined in on the fun, according to the Associated Press.
Authorities told reporters that even more sinister acts were allegedly at-hand, however: The raids involved meth-making and cocaine sales as well as $350,000 worth pot, hash oil and edible marijuana treats (candy bars and popcorn), sheriff's officials said.
One expert told the Press-Enterprise, meanwhile, that pot shops have been heading to the Inland Empire in recent months as a result of tough crackdowns in places like L.A. proper.
“We know that a number of these collectives open out here in Riverside and San Bernardino counties by people who were shut down in LA and Orange counties,” Lanny Swerdlow, head of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project said.
It looks like the I.E. is medical marijuana's new frontier. But it won't be for long if voters pass full marijuana legalization act (Prop. 19) in November. If that happens the whole state could be wide open again.