SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Federal prosecutors have launched a crackdown on pot dispensaries in California, warning the stores that they must shut down in 45 days or face criminal charges and confiscation of their property even if they are operating legally under the state’s 15-year-old medical marijuana law.

In an escalation of the ongoing conflict between the U.S. government and the nation’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry, California’s s four U.S. attorneys sent letters Wednesday and Thursday notifying at least 16 pot shops or their landlords that they are violating federal drug laws, even though medical marijuana is legal in California. The attorneys are scheduled to announce their coordinated crackdown at a Friday news conference.

Their offices refused to confirm the closure orders. The Associated Press obtained copies of the letters that a prosecutor sent to 12 San Diego dispensaries. They state that federal law “takes precedence over state law and applies regardless of the particular uses for which a dispensary is selling and distributing marijuana.”

“Under United States law, a dispensary’s operations involving sales and distribution of marijuana are illegal and subject to criminal prosecution and civil enforcement actions,” letters signed by U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy in San Diego read. “Real and personal property involved in such operations are subject to seizure by and forfeiture to the United States … regardless of the purported purpose of the dispensary.”

The move comes a little more than two months after the Obama administration toughened its stand on medical marijuana following a two-year period during which federal officials had indicated they would not move aggressively against dispensaries in compliance with laws in the 16 states where pot is legal for people with doctors’ recommendations.

The Department of Justice issued a policy memo to federal prosecutors in late June stating that marijuana dispensaries and licensed growers in states with medical marijuana laws could face prosecution for violating federal drug and money-laundering laws. The effort to shutter California dispensaries appears to be the most far-reaching effort so far to put that guidance into action.

“This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The Administration is simply making good on multiple threats issued since President Obama took office,” Kevin Sabet, a former adviser to the president’s drug czar who is a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Substance Abuse Solutions. “The challenge is to balance the scarcity of law enforcement resources and the sanctity of this country’s medication approval process. It seems like the Administration is simply making good on multiple statements made previously to appropriately strike that balance.”

Greg Anton, a lawyer who represents a Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, said the 14-year-old dispensary’s landlord received an “extremely threatening” letter Wednesday invoking a federal law that imposes additional penalties for selling drugs within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and playgrounds.

The landlord was ordered to evict the pot club or risk imprisonment, plus forfeiture of the property and all the rent he has collected while the dispensary has been in business, Anton said.

The Marin Alliance’s founder “has been paying state and federal taxes for 14 years, and they have cashed all the checks,” he said. “All I hear from Obama is whining about his budget, but he has money to do this which will actually reduce revenues.”

22 Responses

  1. Richard

    Time for a revoulution in this country as are rights are taken away and state rights aren’t even recognized.Join in on the wall street fight to get our country back.

  2. Richard

    Also looks like the fed wants to help imcrease the black market and under world of violence so they can fund more prisons and more money for the DEA instead of collecting taxes and helping people try to make a legal living. We can not sit idle!!

  3. brett stevenson

    I agree!!! When was the last time a fellow American told you that they had great faith in all of our government?! Guess what people! THIS IS OUR COUNTRY! That’s right, it’s America! It is time to take it back. It is time for the U.S. to start growing up. We are still a baby, but we can get through this. Let’s take back country, and make it right for the world! For what is Right! Right now! !!

  4. jerry


  5. Raven Green

    How much money does the IRS get from the methamphetamine business in this country? I’d say it’s safe to say, ZERO. How much revenue has the medical marijuana industry generated for the IRS and put back into the economy? I think it’s safe to say BILLIONS. Yeah so lets strong arm a thriving happy industry out of business so we can continue to cut budgets from funding schools, feeding the poor, and caring for the sick so we can continue to funnel money into private prison systems.

  6. Carlos

    Mr. President I watched my mom suffer everyday for the last nine months of her life with cancer.By me living in the south marijuana is illegal. I put my life, my freedom on the line everyday to bring her to happiness because the doctors said their was no more they could do and named her a hospice patient.If medical marijuana will help out people thats on their sick bed it may save one life.Why dont you stand up and make it legal in all 50 states.Other countries are using it as it should be used.We cant abuse it if prescribe the right way.And we surley cant deny it cause it may save a life or two.

  7. Carlos

    We need a nation wide vote. We are the people of the united states. We may not make the laws but we sure put people in places to hurt the people we love and charish. Even president regan,president bush sr,president bush jr,nor president clinton touched medical marijuana laws to make themselves look good for the people. Even though im and african american man I think ill be voting for the republican party next election. At least they believe in saving humanity by any means over obama’s pinnochio’s dance.Dont be the escape goat president obama.The state of california is big in the election you’ll lose a powerful electoral vote.


    it’s time for anarchy. people don’t realize that spain survived just fine for 3 happy years under anarchy and a barder system. lets take back this country now. we have the right to bear arms and the right to stand up against our government thats oppressing us. this is the time where we make this country ours again it hasn’t been since the early 1900’s. dont you want our future generations to be in control and not some punk ass pig with a gun and an ego trip.



    Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations.[

  10. Aubrey

    President Obama is a coward/puppet he was a artificial design of what we thought would be change. The only change or important statistic he will ever produce is being our first partially black president. Everyone that is interested in the rights of true liberty and freedom should do anything in there power to get Ron Paul elected as the republican candidate for 2012. He’s not trying to agree with any politician or comply with a party beliefs. He’s a true enforcer of the constitution and liberty.

  11. John


    I’m sure the feds are doing this just to see how many votes are at stake. CA is a good testing ground.

    Big # of people fight it = Obama will be pro MMJ. Small # fight it = Obama will pursue outlawing it. Either way he’s the great (yet false) savor once again. He’s probably estimating how many votes are at stake on this issue.

    Same old fucking shit from these fucking politicians, whichever party. The worst people in history, time and time again, are those in power.

    Even evil regimes have to do something now and then that makes it look like they aren’t evil, to keep the masses at bay. Once enough power is gained they don’t have to pretend anymore, and the masses are fucked.

    I hope the people fight. I hope it’s peaceful, but I hope they arm themselves just in case. Build up your supplies in case something comes, which is not a far stretch at this point. We can’t let all this shit continue, day by day it gets closer to were the people have no choice but to fight.

    Return the power to local governments where the people rule. That’s how the Constitution was originally set up, but little by little power has been centralized in DC and now the people have no power…that is unless WE THE PEOPLE take back. American Revolution II.

  12. Black Flag Political

    We are living in the 21st century and governing ourselves with a flawed, outdated system. It’s like were trying to win the daytona 500 with a horse and carriage.

Leave a Reply