California pot shops ordered to shut down within 45 days

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, October 7, 2011 13:28 EDT
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The Obama administration is finally cracking down on the medical marijuana industry, in a big way.

In letters received by 16 licensed California dispensaries and their landlords this week, U.S. Attorneys threatened to swoop in and seize the properties if they don’t close up shop within 45 days.

The Associated Press said that a coordinated crackdown on the medical marijuana industry would be announced at a press conference on Friday.

The move comes in the same week that the Internal Revenue Service took steps that may force Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, the nation’s largest medical marijuana dispensary, to shut down.

The same enforcement tactic that’s being used against Harborside — a very old law that prohibits groups that traffic in controlled substances from taking tax deductions — could also be used against pot shops in all of the 16 states that have legalized the drug’s use for medical purposes.

The U.S. medical marijuana market has grown into a $1.7 billion industry, and experts say it could potentially double that figure within just five years.

Photo: Flickr user digitalshay.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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