Fed Enforcement Threats Patients and Medical Marijuana Industry in California

Patients who rely on medical marijuana in Los Angeles to help to treat illnesses and debilitating conditions may soon be forced to buy the product off the streets.

While no one wants that, it may be the only choice left to patients if the feds continue their forceful sweep on the industry. Every year, thousands of patients with various conditions turn to this treatment for help. Medical marijuana can help to treat conditions from post-traumatic stress disorder to chronic pain, cancer and AIDS.
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The recent federal enforcement effort to shut down medical marijuana operations in California was announced by four U.S. attorneys in California. Agents don’t appear to be letting up anytime soon either.

Our medical marijuana attorneys in Los Angeles understand that areas targeted for enforcement include Temecula, Wildomar, Rancho Santa Margarita, Laguna Hills, Pomona, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Murrieta and many other areas in California. If you’re a dispensary owner in the state, you’re urged to seek experienced legal representation to help you in the battle.

Medical marijuana was approved for medicinal use in the state of California back in 1996. There have been 15 states who have passed laws since then. A 2010 California Supreme Court ruling even stated that residents should be able to possess in “reasonable amounts” with permission from a doctor.

Federal enforcement is a new threat, as the Huffington Post reported.

“Federal prosecutors are not trying to clean up the regulated medical cannabis industry, they are trying to destroy it,” said Steve DeAngelo from the Oakland medical cannabis club Harborside Health Center.

Attorney General Eric Holder had previously directed field offices not to make enforcement of federal law a priority in the 16 states where medical marijuana has been legalized. This new enforcement effort is a sharp reversal, with feds targeting landlords with threats of property enforcement and the IRS and DEA being used to go after large dispensary operations in Southern California.

Not everyone’s sure as to why the feds have decided to go on the offensive. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) and State Senator Mark Leno (D) have requested that the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service share its reasoning for the new efforts, but they’ve yet to receive a response.

Many find it odd that the enforcement efforts have shifted from gang-related distribution to the legally-regulated portion of the industry. Many advocates claim that this shift in enforcement is causing state’s millions and millions of tax dollars in addition to thousands and thousands of jobs. Closing up our state’s dispensaries is hurting patients tremendously by cutting off access to medicine.

Many find the new enforcement odd considering that support for the industry is stronger than ever, too. About 35 percent of U.S. citizens supported the industry back in 2006. More than 50 percent of residents support it in 2011.

Closing up our state’s dispensaries is hurting the economy, our rights as citizens and patients by cutting off access that is a constitutional right under state law.

The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation to the medical marijuana industry in Southern California. If you’re facing marijuana charges, call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

Obama Not Implicated In California Medical Marijuana Crackdown, U.S. Attorney Claims, by Lucia Graves, Huff Post
More Blog Entries:

Patient Access Could Suffer after Feds Raid Lake Forest Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Marijuana Lawyer Blog, October 15, 2011

Long Beach May Consider Medical Marijuana Ban after Appeals Court Ruling, Marijuana Lawyer Blog, October 14, 2011