Feds Force Hundreds of California's Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to Close

Less than two months after California's U.S. attorneys announced plans to initiate a federal crackdown on the state's medial marijuana distributors and patients, hundreds of California's medical marijuana dispensaries have been forced to close their doors. The federal war on weed came as a surprise to many distributors and patients who remember Obama's campaign promise not to act on medical marijuana, but leave regulations up to the state. Instead, he has proven himself to be even worse than George Bush. 

According to the Sacramento Bee, only eight of 99 dispensaries remain open in Sacramento County, and 25 of 38 have closed in Sacramento city. Even more have closed out of fear of federal prosecution against business operators and their landlords. In Sand Diego, almost two-thirds of about 220 dispensaries have closed under threats of federal property seizures and city lawsuits. 

From the Sacramento Bee:

The United Food and Commercials Workers Union, which launched a drive to unionize pot workers during the California dispensary boom, estimates 20 percent of marijuana stores statewide have gone out of business in less than a month.

Dan Rush, who directs the union's medical cannabis division, said letters from California's four U.S. attorneys threatening dispensary landlords with loss of their buildings put a chill on the trade.

"There is a high rate of people closing voluntarily," Rush said. "They didn't want to cause trouble for their landlords or they're closing to get a chance to figure out how to come back in compliance."

The threats have caused some businesses to turn to delivery services, pushing patients into a more stigmatized environment.

Multiple lawsuits have been filed to stop the federal attack on legal, medical marijuana, but the outcomes may not be favorable. U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong recently ruled that she would not protect marijuana dispensaries from federal actions because federal law considers marijuana illegal, and Congress still refuses to acknowledge the plant's medical value. 

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at December 7, 2011, 9:20am

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