Just days after we hear about a federal crackdown, via the IRS, on several large California marijuana dispensaries, we learn that three Mission-based pot club landlords received strongly worded letters from the Department of Justice stating that their property could be forfeited and rent monies seized by the government because their buildings were centers of drug activity within 1,000 feet of schools. San Francisco has its own law that prohibits dispensaries from operating within 1,000 feet of schools, however several dispensaries -- like the ones which received these letters -- were grandfathered in and exempted.
These letters, penned by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, are not the first of their kind -- similar letters were sent to pot club landlords in S.F. in 2007. And then of course there was that DEA raid at a SoMa dispensary in 2009. The current round also included a pot club in Fairfax, and twelve pot clubs in San Diego, as well. Medical marijuana advocates see this latest crackdown as pretty alarming, and evidence that the Obama Administration is no different on this front than the Bush Administration was. Stephanie Tucker, of the City’s medical marijuana task force, calls these letters a "slap in the face."
Update: Federal prosecutors held a press conference in Sacramento today to explain their crackdown, saying, among other things, "While California law permits collective cultivation of marijuana in limited circumstances, it does not allow commercial distribution through the store-front model we see across California." [Business Week]