Phoenix police raided a pot dispensary near Seventh Street and Virginia Avenue claiming the business was operating with out a license.
A Phoenix pot dispensary was shut down Thursday morning after Phoenix police investigators concluded that the business did not possess a dispensary license, according to a Phoenix police spokesman.
Phoenix police investigators served a search warrant at the Green Thumb Academy at Seventh Street and Virginia Avenue about 9 a.m. Thursday, leading detectives to about 6 1/2 pounds of high-grade marijuana, said Sgt. Tommy Thompson, a spokesman for Phoenix police.
The Phoenix police Drug Enforcement Bureau had received complaints from authorized medical-marijuana dispensaries that reported the Green Thumb Academy as illegally posing as an authorized dispensary, Thompson said. The bureau then began an investigation that lasted a few months, leading up to Thursday’s raid, he said.
Lt. Darren Vine, an officer with the Drug Enforcement Bureau, said that a handful of employees tried to flee the premises when two police squads showed up at the pot dispensary Thursday morning. Upon entering the business, the manager was “less than forthcoming” with information about the illegal dispensary, Vine said.
Investigators did not immediately know if the employees, called “volunteers” by the business, knew that the pot dispensary was operating illegally.
Vine said the complaints came after the Green Thumb Academy opened and began taking business from legal dispensaries.
“Unfortunately we have operations like this that operate illegally,” he said.
Thompson said police do not typically go after customers in these cases because the responsibility lies with the business.
When visiting the illegal dispensary, customers were asked for a “donation” in cash in order to pay for the medical marijuana, Thompson said. He also said the requested donation amount was similar to the street value of the same amount of marijuana.
Detectives did not have information on whether all customers had legal medical marijuana cards, but Vine said the customers could also have been those without a card seeking to buy marijuana.
Police said the building showed all the signs of being a legitimate medical marijuana dispensary, even posting a sign on the front door that informed customers of the illegality of obtaining marijuana for anyone other than themselves.
However, inside the business there was no dispensary license to be found, Vine said.
Police did not immediately have information on the owner of the business.
Police are continuing to search the premises and continue their investigation.
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