Morning Report: Lawsuit Pits Legal Dispensaries Against the Black Market | Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: Lawsuit Pits Legal Dispensaries Against the Black Market

Club 64, an unlicensed marijuana dispensary in Spring Valley, which operated next to a liquor store. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Cannabis dispensary chain March & Ash is suing a long list of people and business entities the company claims is tied to San Diego’s black market weed trade. The lawsuit claims that the alleged black market actors are putting unfair pressure and cost onto San Diego’s legal pot businesses, writes contributor Jackie Bryant. 

Those named in the suit include disgraced former San Diego Sheriff’s Capt. Marco Garmo, the San Diego Reader, several East County unlicensed pot dispensaries and several other businesses tied to those dispensaries.  

All those entities tie together, March & Ash alleges, because they have essentially operated as a conspiracy to prop up the black market. 

Garmo, for instance, allowed unlicensed dispensaries to operate and even tipped one off about a raid during his time in the Sheriff’s Office, prosecutors have said. He was recently sentenced to two years in federal prison. 

The San Diego Reader, an alt-weekly newspaper, for its part, runs ads for unlicensed dispensaries, the lawsuit alleges. 

March & Ash also named several ATM operators, landlords and bootleg companies for their part in the black market network. 

The lawsuit is similar to a federal RICO case, only civil. 

“Civil suits that mimic federal RICO cases seek to include the umbrella of actors and entities that support the network’s activities. In the case of a civil suit, it makes them monetarily liable. The goal is to show that by supporting unlawful economic activity in any way, they are therefore on the hook for economic damages incurred,” writes Bryant. 

Campa-Najjar Sets Sights on Chula Vista Mayor’s Office

For years, Ammar Campa-Najjar was on a mission to represent East County in Congress.

Now, despite criticizing his former congressional opponent for moving into the district ahead of the election, Campa-Najjar has set his sights on a run for Chula Vista mayor. The South Bay city is largely outside the 50th Congressional District, which Campa-Najjar once hoped to represent.

Campa-Najjar, who is now living in his grandmother’s former Eastlake home, told VOSD contributor Gustavo Solis that he has existing roots in the South Bay community, including stints at Southwestern College and as an associate pastor at Eastlake Community Church. He also went to Eastlake High School.

Campa-Najjar, who drew criticism this week after fundraising texts to voters that didn’t specify where he was running for mayor, is one of a handful of politicos who have emerged as mayoral candidates more than a year before the general election.

Solis caught up with some of those candidates, including fellow surprise contender City Councilwoman Jill Galvez.

Division Over Groins in North County

An ill-named beach preservation device is stirring up new controversy in Oceanside, reports Kayla Jimenez.  

A groin is like a jetty, only smaller. These perpendicular beach structures are designed to stop sand being washed away from California’s coast. Historically, many beach towns have preferred trucking in sand, rather than building unsightly groins. 

But Oceanside’s City Council recently approved a new $1 million project, which will erect four new groins along the coastline. Oceanside’s mayor was the only one to vote against the project and said it could be overruled by the Coastal Commission.  

In Other News

  • The state of California has now mandated that all indoor events of more than 1,000 people require attendees to provide proof of vaccination, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test from the previous 72 hours. (City News Service)
  • The San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved a large solar farm in Jacumba that will provide 57,000 homes’ worth of renewable energy to San Diego’s new, publicly owned utility. Local residents opposed the project on aesthetic grounds, and some environmentalists joined them in opposing the project this week. The board passed it unanimously, City News Service reports. The residents opposing the project, though, say their fight isn’t over. (Union-Tribune)
  • The county is exploring a plan to partner with a private company that would buy cheap apartments and agree to rent restrictions for 55 years, as part of a plan to check escalating housing costs, the Union-Tribune reports.
  • San Diego-based Ilumina is acquiring Grail, a company looking to detect cancer in patients, in spite of opposition from both U.S. and E.U. regulators. (Union-Tribune)

The Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

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