|Laurie Avocado / Flickr|
|An eerily empty dispensary…|
They didn’t take money or marijuana–they took people. On the afternoon of July 31, and well into the evening, Santa Ana Police Department raided (“attacked,” according to some) dispensaries, detaining and processing approximately 80 dispensary owners, employees, and medical marijuana patients. They were taken via paddy wagon to the county jail.
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That afternoon at around 2 p.m., Mike and Scott (who asked to be identified only by their first names) were in Aloha CCA, a nondescript dispensary holed away in a professional building on 17th St. They were startled by approximately 15 policemen who came in to detain all parties present. The police proceeded to cuff everyone, informing them that they would be processed and fingerprinted for a municipal code violation that they equated to a traffic ticket.
Upon arriving at the jail, Mike and Scott were placed, alongside many other detainees, in a holding cell. Like most holding cells, it was small: a posted maximum occupancy of 8 was on the wall. Both men have told the Weekly that there were at least 20 and as many as 40 people cramped within this cell. Mike went in without a fuss, although his heart condition was reportedly ignored by the officers. Scott has a history of claustrophobia, and voiced this to the officer. She proceeded to place him in an isolated cell.
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“The officer in charge of the floor…was trying to stuff us into a room that had maximum occupancy of 8 labeled on the door,” recounted Scott. “And it was, like, 20 people in there. And I said, you know, “I’m not comfortable going in there because the occupancy is lower than what you already have in there. And I have an issue with claustrophobia.” And she goes, “that’s cool,” and she threw me in a cell and I was locked in the cell for eight fuckin’ hours. By myself.”
The Santa Ana City Council recently voted to give the police department $500,000 in order to shut down the present cadre of dab bars and other illegally operating dispensaries. This move was denounced by activists and politicians alike: the methodology used to determine the locations to target was inconsistent, with one lawyer pointedly remarking that the city is simply wasting money by proceeding this way.
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