Federal authorities on Tuesday took legal action against 71 medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles County, part of an ongoing campaign to crack down on the establishments.
“Over the past several years, we have seen an explosion of commercial marijuana stores -– an explosion that is being driven by the massive profits associated with marijuana distribution,” said U.S. Atty. André Birotte Jr. in a statement. “As today’s operations make clear, the sale and distribution of marijuana violates federal law, and we intend to enforce the law. Even those stores not targeted today should understand that they cannot continue to profit in violation of the law.”
Marijuana is a lot less profitable when sold on the black market, of course. There's more -- see if you can figure out the problem:
Last year, California's four U.S. attorneys announced that they were taking aim at large-scale growers and dispensary owners who are raking in millions of dollars while falsely claiming that their medical marijuana operations comply with state law, which does not allow for-profit sales.So when did the federal government get into the business of enforcing zoning laws, or local bans? And which laws rule -- the federal laws or the local ones? No matter what you think of medical marijuana, and I think it's a dodge for a lot of people who just like smoking dope, the blurring of these distinctions is always problematic, in whatever realm it happens. It's no concern of mine if you are a person who likes smoking dope. Abusive federal power? Now that's a concern.
In the early days of President Obama's tenure, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. announced that prosecutors would not target medical marijuana users and caregivers as long as they followed state laws. But as the risk of prosecution diminished, storefront dispensaries and enormous growing operations proliferated in California, often in brazen defiance of zoning laws and local bans.
I'll have to rely on our California correspondents to tell us if these