A Redondo Beach store-front marijuana dispensary operating openly, but apparently unlawfully, was raided early Thursday by a dozen or more local and state law enforcement officers.
No arrests were made, Sgt. Mark Valdiva said, although three people were seen by witnesses handcuffed and sitting outside the establishment.
The raid was the result of a complaint by Redondo Beach city officials to the state Bureau of Cannabis Control about what was described as “an unlicensed commercial cannabis retailer operating” at 1300 Aviation Blvd. Redondo Beach police officers were joined in the raid by agents from Cannabis Control and the state Department of Tax and Fee Administration.
Store-front marijuana dispensaries are not permitted in Redondo Beach, and neighbors for months have been encouraging enforcement to deal with what has been described as “crowds” entering and exiting the building at late hours.
City prosecutors expressed frustration while encountering difficulties in shuttering the business.
The dispensary has been operating for more than a year.
Its owner, Richard Gronbach, has been cited by the city and is scheduled to appear in a Torrance courtroom Monday to face a single misdemeanor charge and a variety of code infractions. Gronbach has not responded to Easy Reader’s attempts to reach him.
According to his Facebook page, Gronbach is a retired Los Angeles County lifeguard.
In August, Redondo Beach Quality of Life Prosecutor Joy Abaquin said the store’s owners “know how to evade and go right up to the line,” describing how the dispensary operates openly until remedial efforts reach the courtroom. Then, the doors close, the business relocates to another location, and the situation persists.”
By labeling their businesses as “churches,” said Abaquin, additional legal hurdles are faced in prosecution efforts.
“These people,” she added, referring to illegal dispensary operators, “have great lawyers who know how to delay, delay, delay, and when to retreat. And they know how to sue.” ER