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Feds Set to Crack Down on California Pot Dispensaries

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Federal prosecutors in California are cracking down on some of the state's medical marijuana dispensaries, signaling an escalation of the ongoing conflict between the U.S. government and the nation's burgeoning medical marijuana industry.

The four U.S. attorneys in California, the first state to pass a law legalizing marijuana use for patients with doctors' recommendations, have scheduled a joint news conference Friday where they plan to "outline actions targeting the sale, distribution and cultivation of marijuana."

 

Their offices refused to provide details in advance what moves the officials are taking or how many of the state's hundreds of storefront pot shops would be affected. But at least 16 pot shops or their landlords received letters this week warning face they would face criminal charges and confiscation of their property if the dispensaries do not shut down in 45 days.

The Associated Press obtained copies of the letters that a prosecutor sent to at least 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," according to the letters signed by U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy in San Diego. "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. For two years before that, 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 appeared to be the most far-reaching effort so far to put that guidance into action.

Greg Anton, a lawyer who represents dispensary Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, said its 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 14-year-old 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.

Kris Hermes, a spokesman for the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, said the warnings are part of what appears to be an attempt by the Obama administration to curb medical marijuana on multiple fronts and through multiple agencies. A series of dispensary raids in Montana, for example, involved agents from not only the FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, but the Internal Revenue Service and Environmental Protection Agency.

Going after property owners is not a new tactic though, Hermes said. Five years ago, the Department of Justice under President George W. Bush made similar threats to about 300 Los Angeles-area landlords who were renting space to medical marijuana outlets, some of whom were eventually evicted or closed their doors voluntarily, he said.

"It did have an impact. However, the federal government never acted on its threats, never prosecuted anybody, never even went to court to begin prosecutions," Hermes said. "By and large, they were empty threats, but they relied on them and the cost of postage to shut down as many facilities as they could without having to engage in criminal enforcement activity."

The San Diego medical marijuana outlets put on notice were the same dozen that city officials sued last month for operating illegally, after activists there threatened to force an election on a zoning plan adopted to regulate the city's fast-growing medical marijuana industry, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said. A judge on Wednesday ordered nine of the targeted shops to close, while the other three shut down voluntarily, Goldsmith said.

Duffy, the U.S. attorney for far Southern California, planned to issue warning letters to property owners and all of the 180 or so dispensaries that have proliferated in San Diego in the absence of compromise regulations, according to Goldsmith.

"The real power is with the federal government," he said. "They have the asset forfeiture, and that means either the federal government will own a lot of property or these landlords will evict a lot of dispensaries."

 

 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/10/06.../#ixzz1a6dvzB6c

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won't happen. Like the man said, they cashed the checks. No court will uphold a conviction now.

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I would take that bet. Them cashing checks means nothing. In the end, the government will say because and that will be that. I suspect this coming from the government of California as I see nothing about dispensaries in other parts of the country.

 

Never was a fan of the dispensaries. I will and if when they become properly legal. It is a shame that most governments views its people as too stupid to have weed. It says to me, the government does not trust its citizens with petty things.

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It's over.

 

Dispensaries rock. Before I grew , I had to know someone in the know or go to Golden Gate Park and take my chances buying unknown weed from slacker hippies on the street or illegal aliens in Delores Park selling Mexican Brick for gangs . And it cost a lot more. I was paying 300 an oz or if I pooled money, 250 with the purchase of 3 or more and I had to have a friend get it and it took a few days. 60 an 1/8 in 1994. 17 years later the price is 50. I can shop discreetly and have a selection of product if I want.

 

When I walked in with a broken arm , I got a bag full of free edibles.

 

Not to mention, some sell clones and teach classes.

 

But it's over.

 

 

Hempyfan: How many dispensaries have you gone too and why did you not like them?

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Hempyfan: How many dispensaries have you gone too and why did you not like them?

Ive been to a few but its not the dispensaries I dislike. The bs game they put them in. What is happening has been predicted and I was one of them who wanted nothing to do with them as I do not trust the government one way or the other. When they make it a real issue in perspective of the laws then I will embrace as happily as kid at xmas morning knowing its gonna be good. I have no issue otherwise and largely believe legit ones are a great thing. I am more in favor of a systems like a co-op aspect rather than profit/non profit gimmick ones.

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Have you heard of a conflict called the Revolutionary War that was all about taxation without representation? I saw again, no court wil updhold a conviction for someone who has delivered a tax to the feds. There is a piece of paper in the US called the Constitution of the United States. First dispensary owner to take a conviction to the Court will see it overturned.

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I saw this news on another site today too. Its ironic. I used to think how weird it must be to live in a place with one set of geographical laws and rules that applied to all the people in that area and all the people in that area knew that and understood. Then after a while somebody else comes along and imposes a slightly different set of rules over the top, some of which were in contradiction with the rules of said state/country confusing everyone. Anyway, then they formed the European Union. I totally understand and commiserate now.

 

Note to self: Time to learn the salute of the New Galactic Federation.

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I work at a dispensary that has not received a letter. I really hope I don't have to find another job right now. I didn't expect to work at a dispensary as a career, nor did I expect the dispensary model to last forever. I just didn't think it was going to happen this soon. It is a really great job, and I hold out hope that the "reforms" that are in the works will allow the dispensary I work at to survive.

 

If not, well it was fun. Being paid to weigh out pounds of White Fire #3 will stick high on my list of cool work moments. As a grower, getting to talk shop with some of the best growers in my area ( N. Cal.) has been a dream come true. To be able to meet growers who I have admired from canna-sites and ask them questions in person has been awesome.

 

If this is hind-sight, well I guess it has to be too good to be true. Man I hope I'm wrong........

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I do not trust the government one way or the other

 

Well said Hempyfan.

Though I live in Canada I am always interested in what's happening south of the border. I personally think this is pressure on the Feds from the big guns ( Phamecutical Industry) They ain't makin any money off the pot so they want it shut down until they can control it. Don't forget that the Big Guns pay a lot of money to the Govn't in the way of campaign contributions, bribes to government officials lobbying on their behalf (they also want to control the vitamin industry) NEVER NEVER underestimate the power of GREED in the Government or the Pharmecutical industry. We have the same Bullshit here the Prime Minister hates home grow medical MJ and wants it to be grown by the Big Guns. Only the wealthy could afford to set up a Medical MJ wharehouse according to the Govn't outline. Need to have a facility to grow outside residenial areas, with 24/7 onsite security, a packaging facility, Quality control THC testing ect. , a disposal facility and the list goes on. Only people who could afford to set it up would be Millionares as in the BIG GUNS!. Until then I shall endevor to continue to grow the dankest MJ I can. Butch BB

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The US is essentially an oligarchy. We can learn something from the so-called Arab Spring.

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"Wagner, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, told reporters Friday that federal authorities "are not focused on backyard grows with small amounts of marijuana by seriously ill people. We are targeting commercial operations, which profit from growing and distributing ... and often use the trappings of state law for cover, but in fact are abusing state law."" ...CNN article

 

I won't say I told you so.

 

1. You should have legalized when you had the chance. They can't arrest every one in the state.

 

2. You should have been able to handle yourselves with a modicum of creadibilty. Go outside California and all you hear is "we don't want another California".

 

3. It doesn't take a lot of money to grow good weed.

 

 

That's the last I'll say about that.

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I've always been an Obama supporter, but I just learned about this guy Gary Johnson. He seems like the only guy that is serious about repealing prohibition. If you get behind this guy you could use the system against it's self for real change. Get him in the race and I'll vote for him I think.

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From what I understood reading the Wall Street Journal..LOL....the objective is the mega growers, the milliondollars business, not the Mom and Pop grow operation and dispenseries. Also they IRS said that it is impossible to make any taxdeductions from expenses incurred producing or selling marijuana products. An old staute being taken very seriously

 

Satyr

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Its about money.

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i agree it has alot to do with money,i see no one has not mentioned the big prison industry we have here in the U.S,alot of it being privatized.now to me that is really scarry and has the potential to get way out of hand and is evil and sick to want and hope to fill up your prisons with relatively good people who enjoy smoking or growing such a wonderfull thing.also i guess thats why i have never really liked the big cities and love the country where the cops hardly ever come around unless they are called,but even that is getting harder to find.just feel the GOV,needs to keep out of marijuana,and a little more out of peoples everyday lives

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Have you heard of a conflict called the Revolutionary War that was all about taxation without representation? I saw again, no court wil updhold a conviction for someone who has delivered a tax to the feds. There is a piece of paper in the US called the Constitution of the United States. First dispensary owner to take a conviction to the Court will see it overturned.

 

Have you heard of a law called "Manufacture of a schedule 1 controlled substance" That carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in the united states.

I know of not one single person that was ever allowed to even bring up the Medical marijuana defense in Federal court but I know of several thousands that are sitting in prison right now for growing.

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So cases in your world can't be reversed? Do the letters IND and the name Robert Randall mean anything to you? How about People v. Robert Randall? The people means the US was prosecuting and won and the conviction was overturned and the US had to create a federal medical program. How many of these thousands that you "know" are in jail paid the IRS federal taxes on the sale of the bud? None. There has not been a case as yet to make it to the Court that will reverse it. I have an advanced degree in Political Science and a minor in Economics. I have a clue about what I am talking about. The only reason I don't discuss politics here in depth is because it is not allowed. Welcome to OpenGrow.

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El Tiberon, Paying IRS Federal taxes on the sale of bud is nothing more than a admission of guilt.

So if a man robs a bank but pays taxes on the proceeds he has not commited a crime.

 

Congratulations on your advanced degree in political science and minor in economics That is very admirable and you should be proud of yourself. not a easy task to achieve.

 

I also have a degree that I recieved in con college. I recieved this degree after having the DEA crash through my door with guns drawn because I had a few plants for myself.

Spent years fighting the Federal goverment and eventually lost. Spent some great quality time with convicted drug trafficers. Met Thousands of them and obviously my entire life was ruined.

 

Your degree in political science qualifies you as an expert to comment on politics and your minor in economics qualifies to be a expert at opening up a lemonade stand.

Whereas my degree actually makes me a expert of the topic in hand. The federal goverment putting you in a cage for growing a plant.

have a great day and be safe

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Paying IRS Federal taxes on the sale of bud is nothing more than a admission of guilt

 

 

You mean no one actually used these stamps before?

 

montague3.jpg

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Actually my lemonade stand allowed me to retire at 40. I guess I must use different lemons than jailhouse lawyers.

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The Future;

 

Home Cannabis cultivation licenses covering approximately a med garden, mom and pop business licenses with tax stamps purchased for placement on standardized packaging, an even large commercial licenses to vast schwag factories churning out cheap pot in such insane quantities they get better lobbyists than tobacco.

 

Even our own government will gleefully admit the market here is in the tens of billions.

 

Among the worlds potheads, more Americans smoke pot per capita than people in Canada Spain Mexico Holland France and even Jamaica.

 

Among the lowest cannabis consumption per capita are ALL of the countries on Americas Terrorism Watch list.

 

One can sum up Americas Problem with Pot as follows.

 

"The smoke from burning marijuana contains many more cancer-causing substances than tobacco. And if that isn’t enough it leads to bronchitis and emphysema. If adults want to take such chances that is their business. But surely the communications media ... should let four million youngsters know what they are risking. Ronald Regan

 

med_gallery_833_383_65960.jpg

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Well, first off I don't think any of those stamps were actually ever used, or available for purchase. That was the crutch (not sure rouse was spelled correctly) right? They told you to purchase a stamp to sell cannabis, but didn't make any available, and then arrested that 60 something yr. Old guy for having a joint on him, and that was the start of it all. If some of you younger guys and gals out there never took the time to look up how prohibition started, you should...it will really piss you off. That Anslinger guy was in with the nylon industry and needed a way to make hemp illegal, so he concocted this old world story of how black guys smoke cannabis and go crazy, rapping white women, and even (GASP!) stepping on a white man's shadow for spite. then they said you had to have these stamps, but didn't actually produce any for sale.

 

Secondly, they don't tax the beer you brew in your basement, so unless they want to do that, they won't tax you for your homegrown. unless you want to sell. Then yes,it should be taxed.

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