SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A promised crackdown on the remaining operators of illegal marijuana dispensaries in San Diego is underway, with operators of three facilities facing criminal proceedings, city officials announced Friday.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said the crackdown would focus on "hardcore" dispensary operators and landlords who are defying city zoning laws and court orders to shut down.
"We have received a lot of complaints in San Diego about these two or three dozen" dispensaries, he said.
A shop on Garnet Avenue was raided Tuesday and three people were cited -- two for operating the dispensary in violation of zoning regulations and one for acting as a security guard without a license, said Capt. Brian Ahearn, head of the San Diego Police Department's narcotics section.
Search warrants were previously served at shops on Commerce Avenue, near Marine Corps Station Miramar, and in the 4200 block of Market Street, with a total of four people cited, authorities said. Ahearn said they could face up to six months in jail and $1,000 fines.
Goldsmith said more search warrants were being prepared that could result in future raids.
Authorities said the proprietors of the shop on Garnet Avenue had 19 months to act on civil court orders to close, but didn't.
"They left us with no choice but to utilize the criminal search warrant process," Ahearn said. He said a significant amount of high-grade marijuana, about $5,000 and around 1,000 packets of the dangerous designer drug Spice were seized.
Goldsmith emphasized that the raids weren't about "the drug war," since 14 dispensaries are now permitted to operate legally in San Diego, but not all have actually opened.
He encouraged medical marijuana users to make sure the dispensary they patronize is operating legally.