Banning city officials are using code enforcement to shutter a new marijuana dispensary that opened on West Ramsey Street.
"The OG Grasshopper" is in violation of a city ordinance and federal law and also is illegal because its owners did not acquire a business license or sign permit, officials said Thursday.
Officials stressed the dispensary never received permits to operate; rather, they moved in and began operations without going through the necessary approval steps.
“Citizens and Council Members brought this illegal activity to the attention of City Staff and the City Attorney and we have been working to get this ‘business’ removed from the community," city manager Andy Takata said. "While the dispensary operations are illegal under Federal law, the problem recently has been with conflicting State Law which allows medical use and growing of small amounts of marijuana.”
Banning Community Development Director Zai Abu Bakar told Banning-Beaumont Patch that the city first got word of the business on May 29. It's not clear when they moved in, since they never got permitted, she said.
City inspectors went out to the location shortly thereafter, and found "unsafe electrical connections to all the buildings on the property," according to Abu Bakar.
It was those violations, which posed an “immediate threat to life and property,” that gave the city the technicality it needed to get the tenant out right away, on June 12.
“The electrical hazard was the reason we had to make everyone vacate the buildings,” Abu Bakar said.
Owners of the shop have also opened stores in Beaumont and Palm Springs, according to Takata, who added that the Banning council prohibited medical marijuana facilities "years ago."
It's not clear if The OG Grasshopper will try to reopen this Banning business with permits and repaired electrical wiring.