The city of Redondo Beach, which prohibits marijuana dispensaries, is taking action against two businesses officials say have been operating illegally for more than a year.

Criminal charges have already been leveled against one of the businesses, which bills itself as a religious organization, and a city prosecutor said Friday charges will be filed against another dispensary on Aviation Boulevard that operates out of an unmarked storefront.

A note on Weedmaps, where the Pineapple Club advertises, advises visitors to approach a white door to the right of Angel City Grill and ring the bell.

City prosecutor Joy Abaquin said Pineapple Club and the owner of the property at 1505 Aviation Blvd. face criminal charges for allegedly operating an illegal marijuana dispensary and doing business without a license.

A request for comment by a representative of the club was not returned Friday, Aug. 23.

City prosecutors said are also pursuing a similar case against a dispensary on Artesia Boulevard, open since about July 2018, that represents itself as a church.

First called Seaside Church of Alternative Healing, located behind the Sandbox Smoke Shop at 2500 Artesia Blvd., the dispensary — under pressure from the city — closed in July only to reopen a few weeks later with many of the same employees and organized by the same people. Now it’s called Sacramental Life Church of Redondo Beach.

City prosecutor Melanie Chavira, who’s handling the case, said that while the city agreed to dismiss certain charges if the dispensary shut down, the group was still required to correct various code violations. Since they allegedly did not comply with the terms of the agreement, Chavira said the case will proceed.

Chavira said the new iteration could be subject to a separate criminal action. Listed with the California Secretary of State as the agent of record for the current business is attorney Matthew Pappas of Orange County, who also represented Seaside following a police raid in March.

Pappas, a well-known attorney who represents cannabis dispensaries, has faced his own legal troubles, having been raided by the Orange County sheriff’s deputies in 2016. At the time, Pappas said it was retaliation for releasing videos showing alleged improper police behavior.

Pappas could not be reached for comment. Messages to Sacramental Life Church of Redondo Beach were not returned Friday, Aug. 23.

Councilman John Gran said residents have made him aware of the situation.

“This is common that they have a company that looks like the other one,” Gran said. “We knew within two days they had reopened.”

Redondo is not alone in combating dispensaries. The city of Alhambra earlier this year prosecuted two dispensary/churches. The process takes time, however, sometimes up to six months, and in the meantime they keep operating and making money, Gran said.

“They go all the way up to the court day and say they are shutting it down,” Gran said. “They will probably do the same thing again. You can’t just go shut them down because they have this false wall you have to get around and they run out the clock.”

Redondo Beach has prohibited dispensaries since Proposition 215 – the state’s first medical marijuana initiative – was approved by voters in passed in 1996. When California voters approved the recreational use of marijuana of 2016, the City Council extended the prohibition on dispensaries to beyond just medical use.

Contact Lisa Jacobs lisa.jacobs@TBRnews.com or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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