|Eric Hood/OC Weekly.
According to a Santa Ana Police Department investigator, 17 medical marijuana dispensaries were visited by police in the past week. 42 tickets were issued to dispensaries operating in violation of the city’s 2007 ban on pot clubs, three of which–Wax City, Emerald, and Wax-R-Us–have now closed. The operation came in the wake of a July 15 city council meeting in which councilmembers voted to appropriate $500,000 for ongoing anti-pot enforcement actions.
During the aforementioned council meeting, Councilwoman Michele Martinez, in a seemingly spur-of-the-moment tirade, lambasted the lack of enforcement of the city’s pot ban. She proceeded to call for a vote on a substitute measure which would put $500,000 toward the closure of “illegal dispensaries,” which passed.
During public comments, and before Martinez spoke, dozens of Santa Ana citizens opposed to dispensaries voiced complaint after complaint, a diatribe that lasted nearly two hours. (The Voice of OC reported a more detailed coverage of the meeting here).
According to the police investigator who spoke to the Weekly, the ticketed dispensaries were chosen for their proximity to schools and high-density locations, with multiple shops near one another. However, councilman Sal Tinajero acknowledged that, while the targeted shops were closely bunched together, they weren’t in fact in close proximity to either schools or residential neighborhoods. He further stated, “I will be looking into those closures. The true intent of what was passed at the Tuesday meeting was that we go after those dab bars that are near schools and begin there. By going after dab bars in an industrial zone, it doesn’t increase the quality of life for anyone. In fact, there really is not much of a change. So I will be looking into that and addressing that issue, because we need to go after the dab bars that are within or near the school areas.”