In Santa Ana, licensed marijuana dispensaries say their greatest nemesis isn’t a federal prosecutor or local police or even criminals seeking to rob their cash-based operations. Today, the greatest challenge they face at the moment are unsanctioned marijuana shops that dot the city.
These unlicensed, unregulated operations are snapping up black market business by selling the drug at a lower cost – made possible because those other shops aren’t following the stringent guidelines as expected by state regulators. They ignore city safety codes and guidelines, which means they can undercut licensed dispensaries on price. Licensed regulators have responded by suing a number of these operations.