LA County DA pledges to prosecute medical marijuana distributors

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Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley apparently had tough words for medical marijuana dispensaries at a conference of narcotics officers in Montebello today. The Los Angeles Times quotes the DA as saying all of the county's hundreds of dispensaries are illegal, and that he intends to prosecute their operators. Later in the day, the D.A. sent out a toned down news release.

The tension between illegal dope and prescription-only medical marijuana has ramped up in the last few years.

Even though California voters approved medical marijuana 13 years ago, the federal government considers it contraband.

So does Los Angeles DA Steve Cooley. He’s especially piqued that a loophole in an L.A. city ordinance has given rise to as many as 800 marijuana dispensaries within city limits.

Cooley and L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich regard all over-the-counter pot sales as illegal, and they told narcotics officers at a training session that they plan to hit back at those sales with criminal prosecutions.

Advocates for medical marijuana use picketed that training. They say it helps to relieve the pain, nausea, and weight loss associated with a variety of illnesses. If the district attorney has his way, the patients and sellers who rely on palliative pot may have to tell that to the judge.