It’s going to be a busy fall for the San Diego Police Department. Retail cannabis sales will begin in California sometime in January. At that time, the city’s 17 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to sell to anyone 21 or over.
That’s good for them, but 17 stores in a city of 1.4 million people doesn’t give consumers much choice. And what’s a free market without choice? (A government-protected monopoly, but let’s not dwell on that.) Filling this market inefficiency are a horde of marijuana delivery services—all of which are technically illegal.
Rather than let the market put them out of business or serve them with civil citations or fines like the law would deal with an outlaw taco truck or unlicensed accountant, San Diego police are choosing to go after them the old-fashioned way: Raids, arrests and sweet, sweet seizures.
Taking Aim at Weed Delivery Companies
Back in August, cops raided the downtown location of the Left Coast Collective and arrested 12 people, most of whom were drivers for the delivery service. They face charges of marijuana sales and operating a business without a license, as the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. You can guess which one is more serious.
Last week, narcotics detectives arrested four people and seized $30,000 in cash after raiding a home that served as the base of operations for the “Pretty Dank” delivery service, the Tribune reported. All four received citations, but they’ll be hard pressed to retrieve that $30,000—or the 10 pounds of cannabis cops removed from the premises.
In a genius stroke of consistency, marijuana delivery services have proliferated in part because of the police. Several hundred cities across the state have banned marijuana dispensaries altogether. And in many cases, authorities say it’s no big deal because delivery services exist. This is exactly how police in Daly City, California, found themselves so twisted that they gave a verbal recommendation to a delivery service that—technically under the law—was illegal.
San Diego cops have made clear their desire to allow only licensed marijuana business activity, but as things stand today, police could spend the rest of the year and then much of the next stamping out deliveries.
Final Hit: San Diego Police Aim to Shut Down Hundreds of Pot Delivery Services
As Voice of San Diego reported in August, there are hundreds of marijuana delivery services in San Diego. Of these, only eight had completed all the necessary requirements for official city licensing. Two down, 198 to go.
Unlike most other major metropolitan areas, San Diego’s crime rate remains at historic lows. That said, it’s hard to argue that an historically low murder rate is a green light to turn into a marijuana delivery abatement team.