In Santa Ana, licensed marijuana dispensaries say their greatest nemesis isn’t a federal prosecutor or local police or even criminals seeking to rob their cash-based operations. Today, the greatest challenge they face at the moment are unsanctioned marijuana shops that dot the city.
These unlicensed, unregulated operations are snapping up black market business by selling the drug at a lower cost – made possible because those other shops aren’t following the stringent guidelines as expected by state regulators. They ignore city safety codes and guidelines, which means they can undercut licensed dispensaries on price. Licensed regulators have responded by suing a number of these operations.
You may recall back in 2014, Santa Ana city officials approved a city initiative called Measure BB. This gave the green light to about 20 medical marijuana dispensary licenses in the city, to be chosen via a lottery system. However, despite efforts to carefully regulate the legal marijuana system, the number of licensed dispensaries in the city soon became overwhelmed by the number of unlicensed shops. Continue reading