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Holistic business owner charged with illegal cannabis sales
Lakisha Jenkins
Lakisha Katerris Jenkins

A woman accused of operating several unlicensed marijuana dispensaries in the area, including one in Turlock, was ordered to stand trial on a variety of offenses.

A Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge ruled at the end of a four-day preliminary hearing that there was enough probable cause to hold Lakisha Katerris Jenkins, 43, over for trial. Jenkins is facing felony and misdemeanor charges of sales tax evasion, possessing marijuana for sale, failing to file a quarterly tax return and engaging in business as a seller without a permit.

Jenkins is charged with unlawfully operating multiple marijuana dispensaries in the cities of Tracy, Oakdale, Turlock and Merced between October 2011 and July 2015 in violation of her seller’s permit granted by the State of California for the selling of holistic items.

 Jenkins is alleged to have operated in multiple locations never noticed to the State as required by law and in violation of the City of Turlock and Merced’s complete prohibition on the establishment of marijuana dispensaries of any kind.

Jenkins was arrested in 2016 in Merced on a warrant from the Turlock Police Department. She was charged in Merced County with similar charges regarding her downtown business, as well as failing to care for animals and writing bad checks.

At the time of her arrest, Jenkins was a candidate for Merced City Council. The allegations resulted from an investigation and subsequent tax audit by the California Board of Equalization, now the Department of Tax and Fee Administration, into Jenkins’s activities under the names of The Kiona Foundation, The Farm’acy, Kiona’s Farm’acy and the Jenasis Medical Group.

Evidence presented at the preliminary hearing showed that these businesses grossed more than $4.7 million dollars in taxable sales, amassing a tax liability of more than $387,000 while Jenkins reported $250 of taxable sales and paid $18 in sales taxes between all dispensary locations over a nearly five-year time period.

Jenkins returns to court on Dec. 9, for arraignment in Department 5.