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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on May 8th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 10 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 10

Dispensary owner faces charges in Los Alamos cannabis probe

By PETER JOHNSON

One of 805 Beach Breaks’ owners is facing criminal charges in Santa Barbara County as part of an investigation into a cannabis farm in Los Alamos that was raided by law enforcement in March.

Brian Touey is one of three growers being charged in connection to the site at 9676 Harvest Road, which housed hundreds of thousands of unlicensed plants, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.

Authorities also seized plants and more than $32,000 in property assets from a facility in Nipomo on Hutton Road that was “used as an instrument to facilitate ... the sale of a controlled substance,” according to court records.

The raids are part of an ongoing probe by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office’s Cannabis Compliance Team into the Los Alamos operation, which the agency called the largest that it had ever investigated.

“This case involves the issue of fraudulent licensing and the black-market diversion of cannabis,” Santa Barbara Sheriff’s spokesperson Kelly Hoover said over email. “Our investigation from Los Alamos led us to the dispensary to search for evidence and documentation.”

Hoover said that while deputies found cannabis from the Los Alamos grow for sale at 805 Beach Breaks, the shop is not the main focus of the investigation.

“[The product] appeared to be labeled to meet the state standards for retail sale,” Hoover said.

Touey, one of the dispensary’s owners, faces one felony charge for perjury—related to falsifying documents to Santa Barbara County—and two misdemeanors for the unlawful cultivation and sale of cannabis. He pleaded not guilty to the charges on April 23.

Touey declined to comment on the case on April 24.

The charges filed are only relevant to activities that allegedly took place in Santa Barbara County, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Lee Carter.

The Grover Beach Police Department investigated 805 Beach Breaks in light of Santa Barbara’s probe and determined that the dispensary hadn’t violated any local laws. The dispensary briefly closed on March 28 while authorities searched the shop and found cannabis products allegedly sourced from the Los Alamos grow.

At the time, the Sheriff’s Office declined to disclose whether Touey was involved with the grow.

Per documents obtained by the Sun, Santa Barbara County sent state cannabis licensing agencies multiple letters of temporary approval for Touey’s cultivation activities in Los Alamos—based on his statements that cannabis was grown on the site before Jan. 19, 2016. Prosecutors are alleging that Touey’s statements were false.

According to the state Bureau of Cannabis website, Touey is listed as part owner of 805 Beach Breaks with Erich Haas. It was the first brick-and-mortar cannabis store to open in SLO County in 2018.




Weekly Poll
What do you think of the changes Santa Barbara County made to its cannabis ordinances?

It was too early to make any changes. The industry is still new.
The changes were necessary. Cannabis farms are ruining our quality of life.
The changes are too restrictive and could stifle a growing industry.
More changes are needed to address the odor problems and other issues.

| Poll Results