San Diego Cracks Down on Illegal Hemp-Derived Products, Multiple Arrests and Seizures Ensue

San Diego Cracks Down on Illegal Hemp-Derived Products, Multiple Arrests and Seizures EnsueSource: City of San Diego
Roma Chang
Published on December 10, 2023

The City of San Diego is cracking down on the sale of intoxicating hemp-derived products. Authorities issued an open letter on Dec. 1 to tobacco shops that might be peddling such products without the proper licenses, urging them to pull them off their shelves within 30 days. According to a statement on the City's official website, shops caught with unlawful and potentially harmful substances risk facing enforcement action after the grace period.

The San Diego Police Department has been active in the field, recently executing search warrants across San Diego, Chula Vista, and Spring Valley. These raids resulted in the arrests of several individuals, the confiscation of illegal products, sizable amounts of cash, and the confiscation of firearms. These products pose "a danger not just to businesses but to the health and well-being of our communities."

Community complaints about illegal dispensaries near schools and residential areas propelled this investigation. Misleadingly labeled as "Delta-8 THC" and "Delta-10 THC," these hemp-based products are classified as cannabis and, as such, require proper licensing. According to national poison control centers, adverse events from these products have led to numerous hospitalizations and even deaths.

Enforcement of these regulations falls under California Assembly Bill (AB) 45, which clarifies the definitions and control measures for hemp products. For those interested, detailed information on AB 45 can be found on the California Legislative Information website. The City's Development Services Department (DSD) Cannabis Business Division, which dispatched the warning letter, has clarified that non-compliant businesses have a 30-day window to act before enforcement ensues.

The City's Cannabis Business Division encourages businesses with inquiries or need guidance to contact them at [email protected]