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California Marijuana Dispensaries Ordered By Feds To Shut Down Within 45 Days

Tracy Bloom |
October 6, 2011 | 1:21 p.m. PDT

Deputy Executive Editor

Federal officials are cracking down on California medical marijuana dispensaries, ordering the businesses to shut down within the next 45 days or face stiff punishment, The Associated Press reported Thursday afternoon. The possible consequences include criminal prosecution or having property confiscated.

According to the AP, "The state'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 AP obtained a letter sent to 12 dispensaries in San Diego by a prosecutor. The letter stated in part that federal law "takes precedence over state law and applies regardless of the particular uses for which a dispensary is selling pot."

The Obama Administration has recently toughened its stance on medicinal pot. During the previous two-year period, federal officials did not move against the dispensaries as long as they were in compliance with laws set by the 16 states where marijuana is legal when prescribed by a doctor. 

"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," said Kevin Sabet, a former adviser to the president's drug czar. "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."

A press conference is set for Friday afternoon, where the attorneys are expected to announce their coordinated crackdown.



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