Police temporarily closed and searched one of the two brick-and-mortar retail cannabis shops operating in San Luis Obispo County on Thursday, but not at the command of local law enforcement.
“[Thursday] morning the Santa Barbara County sheriff's department came to 805 Beach Breaks, within the city of Grover Beach, as part of an investigation that they are conducting in Santa Barbara County,” said John Peters, Grover Beach’s chief of police.
He said the retail shop will be closed until further notice.
“As a result of [the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office] investigation, the city of Grover Beach is also conducting a separate investigation to see if there was any illegal activity occurring at this time in the facility here in Grover Beach,” Peters said. “As part of that investigation, the facility's cannabis license has been temporarily suspended from the city of Grover Beach, pending the Grover Beach investigation.
Peters said he’s not aware of any illegal activity occurring at the store, and that the city hasn’t had any problems with the business since it opened a few months ago.
“The reason for the sheriff's department activity is related to their investigation within the Santa Barbara County,” Peters said.
Late Thursday afternoon, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kelly Hoover released a statement, saying the search warrant in Grover Beach has to do with an investigation into unpermitted grows in Santa Barbara County. At the same time police were searching the Grover Beach shop, Santa Barbara County’s Cannabis Compliance Team conducted a search at a grow site in Los Alamos. Hoover said that grow consisted of “hundreds of thousands of illegal plants and thousands of pounds of processed [cannabis] ready for sale.”
“Deputies located the largest [cannabis] growing operation they have investigated since the team formed in June of 2018,” Hoover said in a press release. “At the Grover Beach location, deputies seized [cannabis] from the illegal operation and records associated with the investigation...this case involves the issue of fraudulent licensing and the black market diversion of cannabis.”
But that’s all the info the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office would release at this time, citing an active investigation.
Customers arriving mid-morning Thursday at 805 Beach Breaks were surprised to find police cars in front of the retail facility, and some headed around the corner to Grover Beach’s other cannabis shop, Natural Healing Center, which staff said was unusually busy for a Thursday morning.
The Natural Healing Center manager on duty said while the raid on their competitor was good for business at Natural Healing, it was unfortunate for the new industry’s image.