Monday, October 24, 2011
A number of medical marijuana dispensaries have begun closing their doors in response to a mandate given to landlords of such facilities by the federal government. The government has chosen to go after landlords rather than dispensary owners themselves to put a stop to all of this. Many of the 38 clinics in central California have closed because landlords were given two weeks to evict them, according to the Associated Press.
Four U.S. attorneys said they would prosecute landlords who rent their buildings to operators of medical marijuana dispensaries, threatened with criminal charges or seizure of their assets.
“What we are seeing is a wholesale violation of both federal and state law by some people involved in the industry,” Thom Mrozek, a spokesman with the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, told the AP. “There are huge amounts of money going into this industry. It’s our position that this goes way beyond simply paying rent and cultivating marijuana.”
The U.S. Justice Department stated that medical marijuana dispensaries and licensed growers are not immune from prosecution for violation of federal drug and money-laundering laws.
Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote a policy memo to federal prosecutors that states, “Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law.”
The moves being made are not surprising; the federal government has worked tirelessly to find a way to stop the movement, what better way than to outlaw the renting of office space for marijuana related businesses.The attorneys said they suspect these dispensaries of using the state’s medical marijuana law to profit from large-scale drug sales. They said they are also focusing on properties used to grow marijuana.