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One pot shop shuts down, Redondo targets another

The Pineapple Club, an unlicensed cannabis dispensary, “closed for good.” Photo by David Mendez

by David Mendez

One Aviation Boulevard cannabis shop has closed in Redondo Beach, while another is facing charges from City prosecutors. More than a week ago, the Pineapple Club, once located at 1505 Aviation Blvd., placed a sign on its door reading “Closed for Good,” while on Wednesday, misdemeanor charges were filed against Pacific Cannabis Church, 1300 Aviation Blvd.

On Tuesday, Redondo Beach Quality of Life Prosecutor Joy Aboquin stated that the City’s criminal complaints against the business — filed in September — led to Pineapple Club’s closure.

“I am hoping that it remains that way, but you never know with these dispensaries,” Aboquin said in an email.

Redondo’s complaint lists three defendants, each charged with three violations of Redondo Beach municipal codes, including two counts of operating without a business license, and one count each of violating the city’s standing prohibition against commercial cannabis sales.

A fourth defendant, property owner Amir Jalali, was also charged with violating the commercial cannabis ban. Aboquin said she chose to level the charge after finding evidence that Jalali reported the tenants to the city, began evicting them, then discontinued the eviction process.

In an interview, Jalali objected, saying that he tried twice to evict the tenants, even cutting off their utilities in an attempt to force them out. Jalali notified the city, he said, after he learned the dispensary had illicitly opened in a unit he intended only for commercial office use.

“It was a nightmare having them as tenants, and it still is a nightmare,” Jalali said.

As part of the prosecution and potential settlement process, Redondo is seeking a court order to bar the defendants from opening cannabis businesses within the city ever again.

Though Californians voted to legalize recreational marijuana use by approving 2016’s Proposition 64, Redondo Beach banned cannabis sales in October 2017, during a period when cities could still set local laws on commercial cannabis operations. Residents are able to cultivate cannabis on their private property, but sales have been frozen until the City Council discusses an ordinance allowing pot shops to operate within the city.

Redondo has had some trouble with unlicensed cannabis retailers since Prop. 64 passed. Seaside Church of Redondo Beach — operating under the veil of a religious organization — opened and closed within a year. Unlike Pineapple Club, its owners were cited for violations of Redondo’s building codes. Less than a month after its closure, Sacramental Life Church of Redondo Beach (which employed some of Seaside’s staff, leadership and legal team despite swapping owners) opened in the same space.

Aboquin said that other cannabis dispensaries within the city are under investigation, but that she could not comment further.

A call made to a number listed with Pacific Cannabis Church was answered by a woman cheerfully saying “PCC” upon picking up. The call disconnected shortly after they were asked for comment about the charges. A second call to the same number was answered by a man who, when asked for his name, paused before identifying as “Bob.” Bob then said that the phone number wasn’t associated with Pacific Cannabis Church, that he wasn’t aware the number was listed on a website where the church advertises its daily specials, then hung up. A third call went straight to voicemail.

The phone number in question also matches a “frequent buyer”-style card issued by Pacific Cannabis Church.

As for the Pineapple Club, Aboquin expects the business to be evicted in short order. In the meantime, a small banner with a bright yellow pineapple — the only marker of the otherwise nondescript business — impotently twists in the wind.

newsletter, Redondo Beach – by David Mendez One Aviation Boulevard cannabis shop has closed in Redondo Beach, while another is facing charges from City prosecutors. More than a week