New cannabis regulations task force takes aim at unregulated pot shops
The task force served their first search warrant
RIVERSIDE, Calif.- – Riverside County’s new cannabis regulations task force is now in action, shutting down unlicensed marijuana shops and grow operations, and enforcing industry regulations throughout the county.
The task force served a search warrant Thursday at an unregulated dispensary in the City of Jurupa Valley, filing into a trailer and seizing several pounds of pot products and hundreds of dollars in cash.
District Attorney Mike Hestrin said it’s the first of several operations throughout the county.
“Someone’s got to enforce those laws otherwise we’re not going to have a legal cannabis industry,” Hestrin said. “We’re just going to continue to have different levels of illegality.”
Here in the valley, there are shops that don’t have their city or state license, an employee of a legal pot shop said. Employees at compliant cannabis businesses said they’re excited to see these unregulated shops weeded out.
“When you’re dealing with an illegal or not licensed dispensary, they’re not paying sales tax, they’re not paying a city tax, they’re certainly not paying a state tax,” said Josh Starer at Atomic Budz in Cathedral City. “When we have to mark our prices accordingly, they’re free to charge whatever they want.”
He said it “absolutely” hurts not only his business, but every licensed and legal dispensary in the Coachella Valley.
“So if they go into an unlicensed, unregulated dispensary and buy something, how do they know what they’re getting? What recourse do they have?” Starer said.
The task force is aimed at ensuring fair business and protecting cannabis consumers.
“What I would say to the unregulated businesses is … you should be getting legal in a very short period of time,” Hestrin said. “Comply with the law, get licensed, do all the things that you’re required to do and you won’t have a problem with the DA’s office.”