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Federal Crackdown On Medical Marijuana To Hit Home

At a news briefing/teleconference attended by the state's four U.S. attorneys in Sacramento, the audience was told that warning letters had gone out to dozens of medical marijuana retail store operators across the state.

Medical marijuana collectives throughout Southern California, including Riverside County, must shut down within 45 days or face civil and/or criminal prosecution, federal prosecutors announced today.

The warning is part of a new federal crackdown on the state's medical marijuana industry, which includes huge commercial grow operations, intricate distribution systems and hundreds of retail stores in the Southland and across the state -- even though the federal Controlled Substances Act prohibits the sale and distribution of cannabis.

"It is important to note that for-profit, commercial marijuana operations are illegal not only under federal law, but also under California law,'' U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said. "While California law permits collective cultivation of marijuana in limited circumstances, it does not allow commercial distribution through the store-front model we see across California.''

At a news briefing/teleconference attended by the state's four U.S. attorneys in Sacramento, Birotte said warning letters had gone out to dozens of medical marijuana retail store operators across the state. The typical medical marijuana dispensary sells pot solely for the purpose of recreational use, he said. "That is not what California voters intended.''

After his inauguration, President Barack Obama said the federal government would not prosecute medical marijuana users and caregivers. In 1996, California was the first state to decriminalize marijuana for medical use, although it has remained a federal crime to possess or sell it. Medical marijuana advocates say the Department of Justice's newly announced stance is "harmful and unnecessary'' to patients who use the drug as part of their treatment regimen.

"Aggressive tactics like these are a completely inappropriate use of prosecutorial discretion by the Obama administration,'' said Joe Elford, a lawyer with Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group. "President Obama must answer for his contradictory policy.''

Laura E. Duffy, the U.S. Attorney in San Diego, said it should be noted that illegal marijuana grow operations often found flourishing on federal land create "significant negative consequences'' and result in "a very serious public safety issue.''

Federal prosecutors said warning letters had been sent to the operators and landlords of dozens of marijuana dispensaries in the Southland and elsewhere, and forfeiture actions were filed against properties where owners allow pot stores to operate. Those receiving letters were warned that the stores are in violation of federal law and that they have less than two months to "take the necessary steps to discontinue the sale and/or distribution of marijuana.''

Birotte said all known marijuana stores in the following areas were notified: -- Orange County: the cities of Lake Forest, Dana Point, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, and Rancho Santa Margarita; -- Los Angeles County: cities of Pomona and Claremont; -- Riverside County: the cities of Murrieta, Wildomar, and Temecula; and -- San Bernardino County: Upland, Montclair and Chino.

All the unicorporated areas are also affected.

The letters note that the operation of a marijuana store "may result in criminal prosecution, imprisonment, fines and forfeiture of assets, including the real property on which the dispensary is operating and any money you receive (or have received) from the dispensary operator.''

Anon October 13, 2011 at 01:49 AM
Andy you said you see people from 20-30 getting prescriptions, you said it I didn't!
Anon October 13, 2011 at 01:52 AM
Diana you can't reason with the unreasonable!
Andy October 13, 2011 at 02:54 AM
LOL. Go look at any pharmacy line and you'll see a 20-30 year old there. And if you want to know what they're on, go read statistics. Over 20% of people are on anti-depressants in this country. You need to go read, I'm done with you.
Andy October 13, 2011 at 03:04 AM
And you say to people with pro-marijuana comments like they're lazy on the computer all day. Yet you respond to my answers, like this one, almost instantaneously. Are you F5'ing the page or just waiting all day for your email to tell you that someone commented back on a patch article, lol? Yeah, just scrolled through some of your comments. Not based on scientific research or facts, just rhetoric. I'm done now. Go read a book or an article and get back to me.
Andy October 13, 2011 at 03:45 AM
@American girl Uh oh! Too many facts to swallow?
Tonto October 13, 2011 at 03:57 AM
When the Japanese invaded China in world war II they outlawed opium then sold opium to the Chinese at a profit then busted them for it and fined them for having it. Sound familiar today ?
Anon October 13, 2011 at 01:41 PM
Oh Andy don't get so upset, just because of my comment about hippa. and I carry a smart phone so yes I see comments right away. You need to grow up and realize that you may think you are right but others do not agree with you all the time. It's part of life! Oh wait, is that going to make you need your pot?
Diana October 13, 2011 at 04:46 PM
Andy you are very knowledgeable and bring a lot of information to the post. Your comparison of medical marijuana and pharma drugs I don't think have much comparison. We all know that Pharma is big money, however there are a great deal of people that need certain medicines for their illnesses. Don't get me wrong I am against prescription drugs and avoid them and doctors at all costs and tend to whatever ails me holistically. However, let's be real about medical marijuana, it is not a cure all or a miracle drug. Yes it does help certain people. I have seen first hand with a friend going through Chemo and another with MS. I think that the biggest issue with the medicinal marijuana is that there are a lot of dispensaries that are hiding behind the compassionate act and actually evading any sales tax collected or reported and have taken on the business for personal gain only. This being said, I refer to Grand Ave. I don't understand how it makes you warm and fuzzy knowing that there are dispensaries on Grand, and I can assure you that their presence has not had any impact on the "tweakers" as you say that are also in the area. Having been on Grand for 20 years I have seen a lot of changes occur some good and some not so good, and I have to say that the opening of these dispensaries fall into the category of not so good. I also am a property manager on Grand and have been approached by many potential owners and growers of medical marijuana. Cont..........
Diana October 13, 2011 at 05:00 PM
Their reason to come to Grand is because it is County and they can hide, their words not mine. Riverside Co does have an ordinance and they have just recently enforced it and ordered all of the dispensaries to shut down. Out of the 13 that were on Grand there are about 5 left. I am not against the sick having there medical marijuana for whatever their needs are, but I am a business Woman mandated by very strict laws and compliance's by the State, Feds and the County and feel that these dispensaries on Grand are evading any kind of compliance that a business owner must adhere to, and just because you are "selling medical marijuana" doesn't mean that you exempt from any, permit, taxes and compliance's, and the attitudes of these dispensaries is just that. If and when marijuana is legalized it will put the shady, evasive, shabby little dispensaries right out of business. In closing just let me say this, I feel that most do not care if people have their medical marijuana, what we do care about is what is good for one should be the same for everyone else in business. I am against Government control over my business, but you know what I suck it up everyday as many others do, and just because they are helping the sick doesn't mean that the laws don't apply.
UNCLE FESTER October 14, 2011 at 05:01 AM
to jeff... i used the names with the knowledge i have from first hand experience talking to some of these CLOWNS... thats what they are, LAZY, LOADED, GOOD FOR NUTHIN' CLOWNS.. ABUSING THE RIGHT TO HAVE THE CARD FOR NOTHING MORE THAN GETTING HIGH... this is a fact and if you dont see it, theres problem with your sight. i will remind you that i have NO PROBLEM WITH SOMEONE USING IT IF THEY NEED IT.. THOSE ARE THE ONE JUST GETTIN STONED TO GET STONED... that is abuse of the system such as it is.. i will continue to call all of them clowns . losers, idiots and anything else i feel is deserved. they spend the day stoned. i see them all over the place.. bragging how they just got some "killer cush or purple-uprple". "dude, im so high.." yes ! i hear it and i see it all over. while you NEED IT, the DEA wants it to stop because of the knuckleheads doing that crap... im of the opinion if you need it , you should have it... i dont agree with those assh*oles sticking their greedy fingers into the mix when they in fact--DONT REALLY NEED IT BUT ARE JUST TOO LAZY TO GET JOBS... the law provides them the option to get a mEd-card for this and in FACT--MOST OF THEM DO NOT NEED ANYTHING MORE THAN SWIFT KICK IN ASS !!! lets see some real x-rays, real medical reasons--proven !!! face facts.. i bet you know a few or more who have a card and YOU KNOW THEY DONT NEED IT.... . they are exactly what i said they are . YOU WILL HAVE SUFFER IF THEY SHUT THE COLLECTIVES / DISPENSARY'S DOWN..
Tonto October 14, 2011 at 05:10 AM
you are a slave for the government to feed off of if you are in business or have a job in the private sector. they will drain the life out of you and pounce on the next body to feed on never satisfied .....hogs at a trough....
Andy October 14, 2011 at 07:45 AM
"Oh Andy don't get so upset, just because of my comment about hippa. and I carry a smart phone so yes I see comments right away." Sorry, hypocrisy bothers me. "You need to grow up and realize that you may think you are right but others do not agree with you all the time." If you disagree, prove me wrong or make a valid point. Until then, go get an education and then get back to me. At least Diana seems rational and logical.
Andy October 14, 2011 at 08:04 AM
Thanks for your well-thought out and rational reply Diana. Maybe I'm wrong about the tweakers (I can't imaginine them all leaving Lake Elsinore), my point was that I don't feel as worried when I pass down on Grand Ave than I used to. Onto the dispensaries: I think most of the "come and go" ones on Grand Ave are COMPLETELY illegal. Well, I actually know one of them is for sure completely illegal. They aren't following city, state, or federal laws. Prop 215 / SB 420 both allow these businesses, but with strict guidelines. I don't think these places should set an example as a properly run medical marijuana collective. None of these places have a lab test, and who knows what pesticides these morons are putting on them while an AIDS patient could be consuming it. Whether medical marijuana is gone or not, it will always be easily accessable in California (this isn't Alabama). With the heavy popularity and demand for it too, I just think we need better regulations with it, then these fake dispensaries on Grand will go overnight. Colorado is VERY good when it comes to dispensary and medical marijuana regulation. Probably better than California. They don't have these illegal fake dispensary problems either. Here's a better example of a dispensary in California that follows the law: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHkoBDdQFZE
Andy October 14, 2011 at 08:07 AM
"Oh wait, is that going to make you need your pot?" "grow up" Ironic that you said both of those quotes, in the same paragraph. Typical, when you have no facts, just throw some insults.
Andy October 14, 2011 at 08:24 AM
You might not think of it as a miracle drug or anything, but some people who have issues from anything like chronic depression, anxiety, epilepsy, insomnia, or cancer have given everything else a try. The replacement drugs for these conditions include: Prozac, Xanax, Keppra, and Ambien. This same debate was actually on PBS. Feel free to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4LPxkORw4g
Tonto October 14, 2011 at 02:02 PM
Andy, your government only wants Mexico to sell weed in this country. Thats the core problem. They are trying to prop up a failed nation at our expense. The harder they try the worse it gets. 1000's of tons of weed have been shipped here for decades........tax free.
Andy October 14, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Keep spreading the good word brother! I'm only trying to educate them that there are better dispensaries out there, and that bad laws (federal law, state authorities ignoring prop 215) are responsible for the situation we're in now. If the cities and counties would cooperate with Prop 215, you wouldn't have bad examples of dispensaries. At the same time, I DO NOT want the feds coming in and ruining this industry because they are basically working Big Pharma and Cartels. My preferred outcome: A legal marijuana market for any use, anyone can cultivate for personal use, licensed mass cultivation that are for market sales, and a specialized medical marijuana marketed targeted specifically to sick people. Hemp comes along with that.
Andy October 14, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Keep spreading the good word brother! I'm only trying to educate them that there are better dispensaries out there, and that bad laws (federal law, state authorities ignoring prop 215) are responsible for the situation we're in now. If the cities and counties would cooperate with Prop 215, you wouldn't have bad examples of dispensaries. At the same time, I DO NOT want the feds coming in and ruining this industry because they are basically working Big Pharma and Cartels. My preferred outcome: A legal marijuana market for any use, anyone can cultivate for personal use, licensed mass cultivation that are for market sales, and a specialized medical marijuana marketed targeted specifically to sick people. Hemp comes along with that.
Anon October 14, 2011 at 02:32 PM
Andy please dont compare me with Diana. I can think for myself. Also please stop thinking you are here to educate us on collectives. This is a comments section to an article, you do not own nor did you write the article. If you want to control comments start a blog. if you want to try an insult me, I will meet in person anytime to debate this with you. Bring it!
Roberto October 14, 2011 at 02:48 PM
It's all political, Time to rid the neighbourhoods of medical pot dispenseries. Go to a pharmacy and get pot preferably in a pill form if you truly are ill and requre pot. This ruse for legal pot is just that.
Tonto October 14, 2011 at 03:01 PM
Like all other pills at the pharmacy for $10 to $100 each ? While tons and tons are shipped tax free from Mexico ?
Roberto October 14, 2011 at 03:39 PM
Of course, after all like you said yourself, Mexico needs to keep Mexicans in Mexico and they need something to make a living now that Obama destroyed the economy.... Actually, I can buy over the counter meds cheaper in Mexico. $10 to $100 each? What is this some super potent viagra? be careful! If you have an erection lasting more than four hours go see a doctor. What the doctor will do do, I have no clue!
Tonto October 14, 2011 at 03:41 PM
We are on the same page amigo !
Andy October 15, 2011 at 09:08 PM
Educate you? I'm refuting your claims. I would LOVE to educate you in person and shove over 500 studies and articles at you and wait for you to refute and come up with an answer against every single one (it won't happen, you've never said anything intelligent anyway). Sounds like a plan! Bring your friends too so they can watch and maybe learn something.
Anon October 15, 2011 at 09:13 PM
Lets do it! Where are we meeting?
UNCLE FESTER October 16, 2011 at 08:11 AM
THERE ARE NO REGS FOR "SPACING" THATS WHY THEY'RE STACKED LIKED CONDOS ALL OVER EACH OTHER....
UNCLE FESTER October 16, 2011 at 08:15 AM
20 AND 30 ??? look closer---much closer... 18..... lots of them !!! so-- someone else does see the same things.... lazy ! hurt ? from what.. watching t.v. ? ?
UNCLE FESTER October 16, 2011 at 08:23 AM
andy... your comment are accurate but, its not the concern being questioned. why is there so many of them in one small area.....why is better then 1/2 of the "card holders" under 25 ? what real reasons do they have for the use ? can they really prove they need it ? im betting (thru my experience) less then 20% of the so-called card holders can REALLY PROVE THEY NEED IT... so we get to look at all these collectives grouped together on one street.... for all the it matters, i know a huge amount of people on vicodin, norco's Oxycontin, and more-- because the doctors are either too lazy to find the problem, its a quick fix and most could get by on advil or motrin. bitching enough will get you drugs--one way or another...
LBV Collins October 16, 2011 at 12:53 PM
Hi Jam. I don’t know that your “…why [are] better than 1/2 of the ‘card holders’ under 25?” question is true, but let’s say it is. I would suspect it’s because of (a) young people know marijuana is harmless so they don’t fear it, and (b) older folks do fear the DEA… which is how the DEA and the Feds want it. Regarding your experience that less than 20% can prove they really need it… I doubt that’s true. A licensed doctor has to recommend Medical Marijuana. So card holders have to be seen by a doctor who confirms their ailment and then makes the recommendation. (And I don’t think you really want to go down the path of arguing that all doctors are making fraudulent recommendations.) But let’s just assume that your “experience” is correct, and that less than 20% of Medical Marijuana users really need it. The bigger question is… So what? Do you really care whether a 25 year old sits in his home and smokes a joint? I don’t. Do you care if a 25 year old sits in his home and drinks a six-pack of beer? I don’t. It’s so absurd that our Federal government has no issue with people drinking alcohol, but will toss your butt in jail if you smoke pot. The DEA could care less if you or I risk death from acute alcohol toxicity by guzzling down a fifth of whiskey… but smoke a joint, munch down a two-pound bag of potato chips, and then fall asleep? The DEA will break down your door and haul you off to jail. It just makes no sense.
colorado marijuana dispensaries August 17, 2012 at 07:54 AM
http://weedhub.com Legalize medical marijuana and tax it..

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