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The crackdown of the U.S. Justice Department aimed at the landlords of the medical-marijuana dispensaries in California is threatening an industry estimated to generate as much as $1.3 billion in yearly sales.
In the city of Los Angeles alone, according to a Rand Corp study released on September 21, there were 638 dispensaries that are in full operation last year prior to a city restriction that forced many of them to close down. Since 2004, medical marijuana identification cards were issued by the state health department to nearly 57,000 people, though these cards are not required.
According to the Board of Equalization, the tax administrator of the state, around 400,000 Californians use marijuana every day, consuming about 1 million pounds annually. This generates as much as $105 in sales taxes every year. This was revealed by Anita Gore, a spokeswoman.
For the part of Dale Gieringer, the person running the California office of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws or NORML, he said, “There are literally tens of thousands of legal jobs that have been created by the medical-marijuana industry in California.”
Lynnette Shaw of the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, a dispensary located north of San Francisco, which she claims as the oldest dispensary to have a license in the U.S., said that federal prosecutors sent a letter to her landlord on September 29.
During a telephone interview yesterday, Shaw said, “It was very ominous. It informed him there was medical-marijuana dispensing on his site, and that he had 45 days to evict us, or possibly face 40 years in jail, forfeiture of the property and any money we had given him.”