Cannabis Industry

Unlicensed Dispensaries Actually Get Raided All the Time


We here at DabConnection have made a bit of a reputation for ourselves as consumer advocate watchdogs. It’s what ends up happening in an emerging industry; you settle into your niche and everybody ends up with a specialty. We leave the fluff pieces to the other cannabis websites.

But we often end up sounding shrill, like we’re raging against a problem that nobody else is aware of. You hear us pointing the finger at dozens of fake cart operations, unlicensed distributors, shady testing labs, scam websites, and all the other bad news. You end up sounding like a prophet of doom this way. Who wants to be the Al Gore of pot?

Well, today we’re going to report some good news. Cannabis licensing regulation and authorities are aware of the epidemic and do take steps to reign it in. There have been some high-profile raids on illegal operations at all levels of the cannabis market.

Muha Meds : BUSTED!

Muha Meds is a fake brand saturating the North American market, which we have been reporting on for quite some time. Worse yet, we get threats and flame-back from street boof plugs who can’t keep selling this garbage when we report on it.

Just the other day, a comment came in from “pissed mom,” under our most recent Muha Meds post. It is worth preserving here:

For those of you wondering why we keep harping on cartridge safety, it’s for all the “pissed moms” out there with offspring in the hospital. This is far from the only horror story we hear about, there’s many more lung injuries and hospitalizations

where that came from, even years now after the vape cart lung epidemic news broke out.

Well, it finally happened, a Muha Meds operation was busted in Los Angeles in March 2021, just last month. That location was raided by the California Bureau of Cannabis Control’s Cannabis Enforcement Unit – yes Virginia it exists – in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the California Department of Public Health, and the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. All of which participated in the March 9th multi-location raid, netting 350K items including illegal vape cartridges, edibles, and concentrates with an estimated street value of $30 million.

We first caught wind of this story on the /r/fakecarts subreddit, where the story broke, as it usually does there, from sources on TikTok. We always have to find out word on the street this way and work our way back to a credible source. Raids like this don’t seem to make the headlines much.

Anyway, we can’t dance in the street too hard about this, because a quick check of fake vape cart brand packaging retailer websites shows that more Muha Meds empties are ready to buy, fill, and trade on the street exactly like nothing happened.

However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

BCC Dispensary Raids

Dispensaries in California sometimes seem to do business with complete disregard for a license. The California Bureau of Cannabis Control raided two such locations in Bakersfield, California, in February of 2020. The two shops were Knotts Collective on Knotts Street and Backyard Organics on River Boulevard.

That raid seemed to be the result of an oversight on the company’s part, without much drama. However, a higher-profile raid in November of 2020 shut down California Medical Brokers Dispensary on Olive Avenue in Fresno, California. BCC agents there seized nearly $1 million in cannabis products and found a gun on the property as well.

That same article mentions another shop in the same district which was also raided back in September 2019. That was the Stuffed Pipe Smoke Shop.

Meanwhile, the BCC Twitter feed has become a stream of unlicensed dispensary busts. Warrants served on premises happen at least monthly there. Just a few more recent ones:

    • BCC Enforcement served a search warrant on an unlicensed Costa Mesa dispensary known as The Holy Fire. (4/22/21)
    • BCC Enforcement served two search warrants – one on an unlicensed manufacturer/distributor in Santa Ana and another on an unlicensed cultivator/distributor located in Salida. (April 2021)
    • BCC investigators served another warrant on an unlicensed dispensary known as Church of Hundred Harmonies, located in La Puente. (3/16/21)
    • BCC’s Enforcement Unit served a search warrant on an unlicensed cannabis cultivation located in Ontario, California. (March 2021)
    • BCC Enforcement Unit served a multi-location search warrant on an unlicensed distributor/cultivator in Woodland Hills. (3/4/21)
    • BCC Enforcement served a multi-location search warrant on an illegal delivery service in the OC. (2/25/21)

As you can see, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control stays busy! They bust unlicensed cannabis operations of every kind, including dispensaries, cultivators, delivery services, and distributors.

By the way, that extends to farmer’s markets too! In July 2020, the BCC also broke up a simple gathering in, again, Fresno, California. We’ve mentioned the underground sesh movement before, as a speculative half-stop for those areas where licensed legal channels for weed are scarce. But this does not apply in California, which practically has a dispensary on every corner by now. Sometimes even a licensed one.

As we look it up, the cost of cannabis business licensing in California starts in the low thousands for a retail storefront but can go up to six figures for a cultivation / extraction facility. Granted, the higher end of that starts to look like serious money, but you’re selling pot in California, it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry. Why so many businesses just neglect this is a puzzle.

For a reminder, California BCC has licensed dispensaries required to put their proof of license up at the front of the store in QR code form. Scan it before you go in, you’re good.

Unlicensed dispensaries hurt more than just customers

Imagine taking a job as a security guard, getting assigned to a post that happens to be a cannabis dispensary, and then one day you’re getting arrested without knowing you were doing anything wrong? That’s just the situation with one young adult interviewed on Politico. There’s a growing problem where people are getting jobs in the cannabis industry, only to find out their employer wasn’t legally solvent. It’s quite an experience to see your boss getting hauled off in handcuffs and you have rent due.

And once again, we have to make a case for the legit, licensed companies that get their act together. Doing business with an unlicensed supplier takes business away from those legit operators who are trying to play by the rules. The whole point to cannabis legalization in the first place was to make cannabis enjoyment safer and a crime-free process. What happened?

Readers, do you have any tips for recent high-profile raids and busts in the cannabis industry? We especially like hearing about fake brands getting busted. Tip us off here in the comments or in our cozy and secluded forum.


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