In a move that escalated pressure on medical marijuana collectives, federal prosecutors in California sent letters yesterday warning landlords who provide space to the storefront dispensaries that their property could be seized, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. The letters, which were sent to property owners in San Diego and others across the state, tell landowners they have 45 days to stop the sale or distribution of marijuana at the properties.
Today, all four U.S. attorneys from California will hold a news conference in Sacramento to “outline actions taken targeting the sale, distribution and cultivation of marijuana” in the state. The crackdown is the latest move by federal authorities against medical marijuana in California and is sure to open a new front in the federal-state split on the issue. Although Californians voted in favor of medical marijuana in 1996, its use is illegal under federal law. Federal law also does not recognize the need to use medical marijuana as a defense in criminal cases. “It is becoming clear to more and more people that these stores are providing marijuana for recreational use and their advertising clearly is targeting young, not ill people,” said Scott Chipman of San Diegans for Safe Neighborhoods. California NORML, an advocacy group for medical marijuana, denounced the action of federal prosecutors as a cowardly example of unwarranted over-regulation.