Fresno cracks down on pot dispensaries

FRESNO – A raid of five medical marijuana dispensaries in Fresno County led Sheriff Margaret Mims to call them “money-making drug operations.”

On Wednesday, around 200 law enforcement officers shut down the dispensaries for the day while they searched them and collected evidence to determine whether the operations were running legally. The five shops are all in unincorporated Fresno County – four in Tarpey Village and one on Friant Road.

The raids were part of an operation called “Full Compliance,” which was the culmination of a 6-month investigation. Officers looked for phone records, bank records and other financial information.

“We believe (the dispensaries) are in violation of state and federal law,” Mims said on Wednesday. “State law because, required by state, you’re not allowed to make a profit. And we believe there was some profit-making going on with marijuana sales.”

Mims said that the sheriff’s department has received numerous complaints from neighbors near the dispensaries about an increase in traffic and crime.

On Thursday, Mims revealed some preliminary results from the raids. She said that the five dispensaries appear to be money-making drug operations. She said the sheriff’s department is planning to investigate other collectives as well.

In total, there are 15 medical marijuana collectives in unincorporated Fresno County, Mims said. She said that they are allowed to charge customers who hold a legal marijuana card a reasonable amount of money for products, but they are not allowed to make a profit.

“I don’t believe any of them are operating legally,” she said.

During the raids, officers collected five weapons, various medical marijuana products and more than $300,000 in cash with more to still be counted, Mims revealed Thursday. She said that the dispensaries are bringing in $25,000 to $50,000 a day, with no quality control.

Mims said that no charges or arrests have been made yet, and it could take several months to review all of the evidence.

Lorenzo Reyna contributed to this report.


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