Thousands of dollars in fines, too

Operating a medical marijuana dispensary in the unincorporated areas of Riverside County is currently illegal. But it is a civil violation, a violation of the county’s land-use ordinance, not a criminal violation.

Nevertheless, on Sept. 21, a Riverside County judge directed “two men to spend five days in jail after they disobeyed a court order to close an illegal marijuana dispensary just outside Perris,” according to a press release from Ray Smith, public information officer for Riverside County. They were jailed for contempt in ignoring the court’s previous order to close.

As part of the case, the court appointed a receiver to ensure the dispensary would be shut down.

This is one of 57 actions within the county to shut down illegal dispensaries. According to Smith, Riverside County has “… obtained settlements and judgments totaling $5.7 million against illegal dispensaries.”

The defendants in the Perris case had already been ordered to pay $34,000 in attorney’s fees and code-enforcement abatement costs. Civil penalties of more than $1 million also had been assessed against the dispensary’s operators and property owners.