Police in San Diego, California recently executed a drug bust targeting unregulated dispensaries and smoke shops that led to the discovery of a large volume of hard drugs and firearms, the Times of San Diego reported. The shops targeted in the raids included Canably, Elevated Smoke Shop, and BestBudz Smoke Shop, which were pinpointed in the course of an investigation that began in October, according to a San Diego police news release. Six suspects are now in custody.
According to police, Canably and Elevated were allegedly operating within 1,000 feet of schools, and the raid on Elevated uncovered a loaded “ghost gun” — meaning a firearm that has no traceable serial number. In addition, the raids found 60,000 counterfeit fentanyl pills, 5,000 ecstasy pills, nearly nine pounds of cocaine, and five pounds of methamphetamine, the report states.
These unregulated dispensaries were also reportedly selling delta-8 and delta-10 THC, synthetically derived “hemp-based” products that have proliferated widely in the U.S. since the 2018 Farm Bill. Purveyors of these products operate under an interpretation of the Farm Bill that claims any hemp-derived product with less than 0.3% THC by weight is federally legal. The DEA disputed this interpretation earlier this year, saying that these compounds are Schedule I controlled substances.
Colloquially referred to as “gas station weed,” these hemp-derived compounds currently operate in a legal gray area throughout much of the country, with some states banning their sale altogether while other states have chosen to regulate them like cannabis. California has limited the sale of hemp-derived consumable products only to licensed cannabis businesses, and San Diego requires any businesses selling cannabis or cannabis-derived products to have a specific retail license.
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