LOS ANGELES — Laguna Beach police this month shut down what they allege was a marijuana dispensary posing as a church, the department said Monday.
Officers seized more than 20 pounds of marijuana and more than $3,000 in cash, according to police Sgt. Jim Cota.[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-section” curated_ids=””]Officers responded to Divine Church of Gardens at 910 Glenneyre St. at about 4:40 p.m. Jan. 12 after a passerby reported a potent marijuana smell emanating from the property and people leaving with white bags, Cota said.
A man at the location told officers he was a volunteer at the church, which sold marijuana for religious sacraments, Cota said.
Marijuana and smoking accessories were displayed in glass cases, according to police.
“As a result of the investigation, Laguna Beach Police Department officers seized enough marijuana to cover a Cypress Hill concert, as well as cash proceedings from the sale of their ‘religious sacraments,’” the department wrote in a Facebook post.
It is not clear how long the location was operating.
Lucas Dichiara, 31, of Irvine, the man who said he was a church volunteer, was arrested on suspicion of possession and sale of marijuana, according to Cota.
Laguna Beach does not allow commercial cultivation, distribution and sale of recreational cannabis, which California legalized with the passage of Proposition 64 in November 2016.
The Adult Use of Marijuana Act allows cities to ban marijuana businesses, which Laguna Beach city leaders voted to do in April last year.
Divine Church of Gardens is listed on the website Weedmaps as a marijuana dispensary.
A message left Monday at a phone number for Divine Church of Gardens was not immediately returned.
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