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The top prosecutors of the Obama administration are implementing a combined drive to go after the biggest medical marijuana operations in the state of California. The prosecutors claim that these businesses are breaking the law and making an illegal profit.
For the first two and half years of the presidency of Barack Obama, the Department of Justice allowed pot dispensaries to operate, pointing out that it needed its inadequate anti-drug resources to battle organized crime cartels and meth labs. Now, the Justice Department has dramatically shifted its course. All four of the U.S. attorneys in California last week declared that they would seek legal action again large-scale dispensary owners and growers making millions of dollars despite a state law disallowing for-profit sales.
“That is not what the California voters intended or authorized, and it is illegal under federal law.” said Andre Birotte Jr., the U.S. attorney for the Central District.
During the years 2009 and 2010, federal prosecutors have avoided going after medical marijuana users and caregivers because industry people followed the law. However, since then, growers and dispensaries have allegedly expanded their business operations to a degree beyond the letter and intent of the law. This prompted the crackdown from the U.S. attorneys.
The U.S. attorneys are running after not just the dispensaries but also the landlords who rent their place to the dispensaries.
These actions of the Obama administration were perceived by legalized marijuana advocates as an attack on state laws that are in conflict with federal laws. And since marijuana dispensaries pay taxes, they also see it as an attack on the revenue sources of California at a time when the state and local governments are in desperate need of funds.