Five arrested in illegal pot dispensary in Peoria

PEORIA, AZ - Authorities in Peoria say five people have been arrested in connection with an illegal marijuana dispensary.

Peoria police served a search warrant Dec. 31 at the owner's residence and business of Pure Essentials.

The business was leased as a weight loss and wellness facility. But through surveillance and undercover work, detectives say the business was illegally selling marijuana.

Police say the business allegedly would sign up members who have medical marijuana cards and allow them to buy marijuana through a set donation price.

The business isn't approved by the Arizona Department of Health Services as a medical marijuana dispensary and its employees aren't licensed by ADHS as dispensary agents.

Police say the two business owners were arrested along with three employees for conspiracy to distribute and the sale of marijuana.

As more medical marijuana dispensaries open around Arizona, there are a few ways to check if the newest one on your street is state certified and legally operated.

Steven White is on the Board of Directors for Harvest of Tempe and says the most important distinction is government paper work.

He says an operating certificate from the Arizona Department of Health Services and the doctor's license must be visible to customers.

"If you don't have to go through an extensive hassle to actually conduct a transaction, then it probably isn't a state licensed facility," White said.

He adds that you should also be able to see that surveillance video records everyone who walks in the door. 

Certified dispensaries also have to post clear rules stating that you cannot use the product on the premises.   


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