Patt Morrison for October 7, 2011

The feds pull a 180 and crack down on medical marijuana dispensaries

Bags of medical marijuana.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

One-ounce bags of medicinal marijuana are displayed at the Berkeley Patients Group March 25, 2010 in Berkeley, California.

When President Obama took office, his administration announced it would back off medical marijuana dispensaries, essentially leaving the regulation of medical pot to individual states. However, federal prosecutors recently have been increasing pressure on pot shops in California and elsewhere.

In a statement outside of a Sacramento court house, federal prosecutors outlined a plan to crackdown on the “sale, distribution and cultivation” of marijuana, setting up another showdown with the states over jurisdiction of the controlled substance. Several landlords of dispensaries have already received letters threatening potential jail time if they do not stop selling the drug. Since 1996, California has skirted past federal laws that make it a crime to possess and sell marijuana and other states have followed with similar laws.

CHIME IN

Should the feds leave the management of medical marijuana to the states? Why the aggressive crackdown from the Obama administration now?

Guests:

Laura Duffy, U.S. Attorney for the southern district of California

Jane Usher, special assistant city attorney, Los Angeles

William Panzer, criminal defense attorney specializing in medial cannabis law; co-author of Prop 215, NORML Board of Directors


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