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Federal Officials Tell California Marijuana Dispensaries to Shut Down


United States attorneys in California have told dozens of marijuana dispensaries they must close or face criminal and civil action. The move is part of a crackdown on California’s medical marijuana industry, The New York Times reports.

On Friday, four U.S. attorneys said they would prosecute landlords who rent space to operators of medical marijuana dispensaries. The attorneys said they suspect these dispensaries of using the state’s medical marijuana law to profit from large-scale drug sales. They said tens of millions of dollars’ worth of the drug is being sent across state lines.

The attorneys said they are also focusing on properties used to grow marijuana.

California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, the first state to do so, the article notes. There are now 15 other states with similar laws.

Medical marijuana advocates said the move will push the medical marijuana market underground.

The attorneys emphasized they will not focus their efforts on individual patients. “Large commercial operations cloak their money-making activities in the guise of helping sick people when they are in fact helping themselves,” said Benjamin B. Wagner, the U.S. attorney in Sacramento. “Our interest is in enforcing federal criminal law, not prosecuting seriously ill sick people and those who are caring for them.”

In July, the U.S. Justice Department announced that medical marijuana dispensaries and licensed growers located in states with medical marijuana laws are not immune from prosecution for violation of federal drug and money-laundering laws. Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote a policy memo to federal prosecutors that states, “Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law.”

19 Responses to this article

  1. Dwayne / October 21, 2011 at 7:22 am

    What ever its just a matter of time now 50% of the American people want it legal now.

  2. Avatar of Brad
    Brad / October 17, 2011 at 11:06 am

    First is the fact that marijuana is a drug. It is against federal law. Medical Marijuana is a misnomer because it does not help cure anything. It just makes one not care about the pain and gives them munchies. Some people can use marijuana and not abuse or become addicted to it, however many people do abuse and become addicted to it. It devestates lives of the individual, families, workplaces, etc. As far as the economic benefit, I beleive that California is in poor financial standing even though medical marijuana was allowed and going to bring in all that income to the state. Looks to me like a failed experiment. As far as the dispenseries being “Large commercial operations cloak their money-making activities in the guise of helping sick people when they are in fact helping themselves,” so are all prescription drug manufacturers. Go after teh marijuana dispenseries AND the drug companies. Make affordable legal medications and then medical marijuana would not be as appealing.

  3. Eric Wood / October 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Jan, nice point, but it isn’t 10 abusers for every one legitimate user. It’s several hundred if not thousands who abuse the system and abuse the drug. Yes, marijuana is a drug. It is still the most abused drug in the United States by a long-shot. [See

    And Dwayne, how can you say marijuana has never hurt anyone? I have treated hundreds of people who’s lives have been devastated by marijuana abuse and dependence. People under the influence of marijuana are more likely to be involved in fatal automobile accidents than people driving under the influence of alcohol. Look it up:

  4. Dwayne / October 11, 2011 at 7:45 am

    O stop it already I am the federal government and i say if weed has not hurt or killed anyone then how can we the Federal Government ban it??? We cannot!!! no one has been hurt or killed by it so it must not be against the law.
    Abraham Lincoln said it best (This Country was not built upon prohibition!!!!!! So what these Federal Government people in California are doing is totally illegal. My body my choice isn’t that what women say when they have an abortion?? People have the rite to consume what ever they want after all it is our bodies.

  5. Avatar of Robin
    Robin / October 11, 2011 at 12:23 am

    I happen to come to know and love someone who is now like a son to me, and after seeing the pain he goes through and how the LEGAL MARIJUANA,which he has a legal papers and script to get his MEDICINE, helps with his pain I can’t even think there are people still out there that think this MEDICINE should be taken from people who use is the way their Dr.tells them, and who have tried just about everything else there is to help with their pain, and their medical problems which does not work, so with the Marijuana that can help them live a better life, other think it should be taken away. All I can say is I hope you never have to walk in someone’s shoes who goes through hell with pain u can never ever know how it feels. So maybe u should study up on this a little more and read how much it helps many people, then maybe u will change your mind and see the other side…

  6. Avatar of jan
    jan / October 10, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    i personally believe this is a travesty. sick people who need mj will now be denied it for pain management and chemo effects, etc. who cares if some people are abusing the privilege? i would rather see ten people use it illegally than one person who needs it be unable to obtain it. besides, it is not hurting anyone. anyone remember or know about prohibition? it just made matters worse. bring marijuana into the mainstream, tax it, create jobs growing and distributing it, create businesses who are selling it and paraphernalia. it would be a ‘win-win’ for everyone. stop being so damned uptight about this. (i am NOT a user by the way, just a concerned citizen.)

  7. john / October 10, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Not one Pot Shop in California is legal under State Law. It is illegal to sell weed, they can re-coop their cost, but they are making huge profits. No where in Prop 215, SB420, or California Attorney Guideline are there provisions to open up a store selling weed. They are nothing but Domestic Drug Cartels.

  8. Avatar of clifford mccolley
    clifford mccolley / October 11, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I must say this. It really is a racket!!!
    Take a look at the punk kids and degenerates selling this stuff. I was in a place recently and the guys were smokin out back!
    I really don’t think a true legitimate program would allow this. These kids are growing pot and selling it as fast as they can. WHAT A RACKET FOR THESE PUNKS!!!

  9. Joshua / October 13, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    the only way you can claim that MJ is the most abused drug is if you don’t count alcohol as a drug, which is a bit dishonest don’t you think?

  10. Dwayne / October 16, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Then I guess those people shouldn’t smoke Marijuana don’t u think?? I have a problem with Alcohol and i don’t drink.I also didn’t need any one to tall me I had a problem. So my question to you is should everyone be punished for someone else’s actions???

  11. clifford mccolley / October 11, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Wow you are the federal g. Very interesting. I didn’t vote for you!

  12. john / October 12, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Dear Dwayne You say no one has been hurt by marijuans, this is an a part of an article today in the San Diego Union Tribune on 10/12/11.

    Obeso, 53, was supervising roadwork when he was struck and killed on Interstate 8 near the Sunbeam rest area, six miles west of El Centro, said Imperial County Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Brooker. Pearson allegedly plowed through the safety cones, struck Obeso, continued through the rest stop and then flipped his own pickup.

    He was believed to have been under the influence of marijuana at the time, Brooker said.

    Two people dead because of marijuana.

  13. Avatar of Jay
    Jay / October 12, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Why don’t we make caffeine illegal too? How many people involved in car accidents had caffeine in there system? I bets its more than THC. What a joke. The truth is, they want to drive it back to the black market because the military industrial complex and the banks actually make MORE money from it that way.

  14. Avatar of jennifer
    jennifer / December 17, 2011 at 3:18 am

    well i know for a fact that these pot shops are ripping off sick people they buy pounds of dank for 2,200 and down and then resale them for 400 an ounce non profit my ass now do the math 400 x 16 if it is legal why have a pharmacy for just marijuana ? a pharmacy should contain all known medicine for all ailments and should also have a Professional pharmacist to assist the people, not some punk ass kid who is going to short you on your meds bc he is going to smoke them with his fiends to cure boredom. i say shut them all down for good

  15. Dwayne / October 16, 2011 at 8:15 am

    The key word is believed to be under the influence of Marijuana what else was he under the influence of is the Question

  16. Dwayne / October 16, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Show me statistics on how bad Marijuana is. I can tell u 3 Hundred thousand people a year die from alcohol and 1/2 if not more of those people don’t drink. Tobacco kills another 500.000 people a year and I have proof. This so called Government that is suppose to protect us from these drugs are backing and protecting these drugs.And don’t get me going on prescription drugs

  17. Dwayne / October 17, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    And what get sicker from man made meds?? no thank you as i said before. My body my choice I trust god and god makes all meds naturally

  18. Avatar of Joan
    Joan / October 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Your argument does not make marijuana any more safe. Yes, other drugs are dangerous also…this is a given. The argument still remains as to what evidence is there that marijuana is a “better” medicine than other available to be prescribed. The side effects of marijuana use far outweigh any benefit it could provide to the majority of people and, if it is used, why must it be smoked – the most lethal form of it. It can be in pill form with lesser impurities.

  19. Joan / October 17, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    What’s natural about marijuana dispensaries?? They are likely grown using fertilizers and chemicals like any other plant. You are right about the choice, but every choice comes with a consequence – so accept it and make your choice from there. Also, I would wager a guess that God has very little to do with your choices.

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