Perhaps poked by last year’s failed initiative to legalize marijuana for personal use in California, Federal prosecutors are cracking down on medical-marijuana dispensaries, leaning on landlords by way of forfeiture laws to do their dirty work.
Landlords for several dispensaries are being sent letters saying they face jail time if they don’t evict the pot shops, the U.S. Attorneys from Sacramento, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco said today at a press conference in Sacramento. Prosecutors are also targeting large-scale growers and distributors.
In California, the first state to permit marijuana for medical use, about 400,000 people use pot on a daily basis, according to the Board of Equalization, the state’s tax administrator. The clinics have annual revenue of as much as $1.3 billion and produce sales taxes of as much as $105 million, said Anita Gore, a spokeswoman.
“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,” said Andre Birotte, the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles.
Prosecutors said the crackdown involves civil forfeiture lawsuits against properties allegedly used in drug trafficking, letters of warning to clinic operators and landlords, and criminal indictments that charge six people with marijuana trafficking in Southern California.
∙ The Day After: November 2 Real Estate Related Election Results [SocketSite]
∙ Pot-Clinic Crackdown Under Way: Prosecutors [Bloomberg]