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Calif. Looks to Put Reins on Medical Marijuana Sales

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California officials are seeking greater control over medical-marijuana sales, as pot dispensaries have proliferated in cities like Los Angeles and concerns are rising about drug dealers posing as medical-marijuana providers.

USA Today reported Sept. 30 that the law on medical-marijuana sales remains vague 13 years after its passage. San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said that all of the dispensaries her office has investigated have been operating illegally, and some “appear to be run by drug dealers who see an opening in the market and a way to make a fast buck.”

State Attorney General Jerry Brown has issued guidelines stating that nonprofit cooperatives and collectives can legally sell marijuana to patients. But some programs are pulling in hundreds of thousands of dollars in monthly profits. Meanwhile, some cities have had hundreds of storefront marijuana shops open since the law went into effect — 400 registered programs in Los Angeles alone, for example, with many more unregulated shops also in operation.

“The practical reality has proven to be these facilities have by and large opened without any kind of registration, application, nothing,” Jane Usher, special assistant city attorney in Los Angeles.

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