California Police Bust Illegal Dispensary Posing As Church

Joshua Gill | Religion Reporter

California police busted an illegal marijuana dispensary posing as a church in Laguna Beach and seized several thousand dollars and 20 pounds of marijuana.

The Laguna Beach Police Department posted an account of their Jan. 12 investigation to its Facebook page Monday, reporting that they seized $3,000 and “enough marijuana to cover a Cypress Hill concert” from a dispensary posing as Divine Church of Gardens, according to the Los Angeles Times. Lucas Dichiara, a self-professed volunteer worker who manned the dispensary, told officers that the “church” sold marijuana for religious sacraments. The officers were unconvinced, as evidenced by the department’s Facebook post.

To think, a church – selling the devil’s lettuce. I don’t know if they had t-shirts or bumper stickers, but personally, I think something along the lines of “Divine Church of Gardens – where there’s more weed in the store than the flower beds” would be a good seller. I also imagine the background music in store was a constant loop of Phish songs. Conveniently, the “church” was open from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., so services weren’t limited to the 4:20 time slot.

Officers investigated the so-called church shortly after a passerby reported that they smelled a strong aroma of marijuana and observed people leaving the building with white bags. Police found that the church was listed on a website called Weedmaps, which lists local marijuana dispensaries. Police arrested Dichiara on suspicion of the sale and possession of marijuana, which is illegal in Laguna Beach. The only contact information for the owner of the church that police recovered was a first name.

“Though the volunteers claimed the dispensary was a church, clearly, it wasn’t incense that was burning. The only contact information for the so-called leader of the church was his first name. Unless you’re Madonna or Oprah, a first name isn’t going anywhere towards pinpointing a single person. Furthermore, the address was listed on a marijuana dispensary mapping service,” the department’s Facebook post read.

“Thanks to the initial caller’s observations and a thorough investigation, LBPD put the dispensary up in smoke,” the post added.

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