For those naysayers who want to believe that this new round of letters to a few S.F. pot clubs and the IRS audit of a huge dispensary in Oakland are isolated incidents, then hear ye now: Federal prosecutors held a press conference in Sacramento today to explain that OH YES, they are bringing their hammer down on the medical marijuana trade in California.
Prosectors from San Francisco, L.A., San Diego, and Sacramento gathered to deliver the message in tandem that "The industry corrupted the intent of the first state referendum to decriminalize pot for medical purposes." Also: "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."
Um, uh oh.
They mean business this time, and the medical marijuana industry is pretty much shitting itself right now. It's unclear how far this will go, and municipalities like San Francisco are sure to fight it, but those landlords whose pot clubs were grandfathered in by the City despite being less than 1,000 feet from schools? They're definitely in trouble. Who will be next?
Update: The NYT covered the story, and they clarify that the crackdown is going to be handled differently in each different part of the state, with Los Angeles and the central district dealing in particular with communities that have expressed vocal opposition to dispensaries. "In Northern California, the efforts will center on areas near schools and parks," they say, but they add that “we will almost certainly be taking action against others." That could be some empty rhetoric, but they also seem intent on bringing down the largest for-profit operations, like the dispensaries targeted by IRS audits. "Large commercial operations cloak their money-making activities in the guise of helping sick people when they are in fact helping themselves,” says Benjamin Wagner, the U.S. attorney in Sacramento.