Feds Are Giving California Pot Dispensaries 45 Days to Shut Down

At least 16 medical marijuana shops have received letters from U.S. Attorneys

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The Associated Press got their hands on some letters being sent by U.S. Attorneys to "at least 16" California medical marijuana dispensaries. The letters warn the shops and their landlords "that they must shut down in 45 days or face criminal charges and confiscation of their property even if they are operating legally under the state's 15-year-old medical marijuana law." President Obama and the Department of Justice have been flexing their federal muscles, as of late, though the AP says this is most serious crackdown, yet. "This really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone," said a former adviser to Obama's drug czar. "The Administration is simply making good on multiple threats issued since President Obama took office."

We don't yet know how wide-reaching the DOJ's crackdown will be, but the U.S. attorneys are expected to give a press conference on friday morning. On Thursday, S.F. Weekly took a tally on the escalating tension between federal and California officials:

This year alone, the Justice Department has imprisoned a growing number of state law-abiding growers and dispensary operators. The Internal Revenue Service has determined that dispensaries can't claim the cost of their product on their taxesthe Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms decided medical marijuana users can't use guns; every major financial institution has closed down medical marijuana-related accounts, leaving dispensaries with no banking options, and just this week, a cease-and-desist letter from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag showed up in some dispensaries' landlords' mailboxes. It informed them that their properties could be forfeited and their tenants could be thrown in prison for 40 years unless the dispensaries close.

Welcome to the new war on medical marijuana, waged by lawyers and accountants instead of police. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.