While Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act legalized adult recreational use of marijuana for adults over age 21, it still left the final decisions to city and county governments.
Although the Board of Supervisors may address a new ordinance to legalize much of this business later this fall, distribution and sales of cannabis remain illegal throughout the unincorporated areas of Riverside County.
In the past several weeks, county law enforcement and code enforcement have been busy from Idyllwild to Aguanga trying to enforce the current county laws.
In early September, county officials submitted another motion in their code violation case against Country Club Smoke Shop, at the intersection of Pine Crest and Highway 243.
In February, county counsel got a preliminary injunction to prohibit “operating, leasing, causing, allowing, permitting, aiding, abetting, suffering, concealing, or granting permission to operate a cannabis business at 25980 Highway 243.”
In its Sept. 11 filing, the county said the business has reopened. As a consequence, the county sought court approval to lock out and confiscate the property.
County counsel submitted statements from Deputy Sheriff Master Investigator Roman Pluimer and Code Enforcement Officer Wayne Durant to support the request to close and lock out the cannabis dispensary.
In late August, Pluimer, undercover, bought 4 grams of cannabis for $40 at the new location, in the alley behind the former Arriba’s Restaurant. He was directed to this location from a sign on the former dispensary.
Based on his training and experience, he asserted “… unpermitted cannabis dispensaries are inherently dangerous businesses involving large volumes of cash and cannabis, and are also regularly associated with dangerous criminal activity.”
Durant’s statement indicated that Code Enforcement began its investigations of the business as early as June 2017 and obtained a preliminary injunction in February 2018.
While told by several individuals who have been cited that the business was closed, Durant observed it open and functioning on Sept. 6, 2018.
Last week, after Judge Randall Stamen affirmed the motion to modify the original preliminary injunction, Code Enforcement and the Sheriff’s Department raided the locations, confiscated equipment and cannabis products, then boarded up both buildings and posted signs indicating the code violations.
The pending litigation against the property owner, Oscar Pineiro, and the alleged operators, Alicia Barry and David Brown, has a hearing scheduled in October.
Several days later, the sheriff’s Marijuana Team conducted two raids in Aguanga and Sage, according to Sgt. Ken Reichle.
The two raids confiscated more than 400 pounds of processed, ready-to-sell cannabis and several thousand plants. Also, 25 pounds of butane honey oil, made from cannabis, were taken, Reichle said.