A steady drizzle continued over the medical marijuana parade in recent days, when the federal government threatened and/or sued a few dozen MMJ storefronts in California and Washington.
In the Central District of California, which covers the Los Angeles metro area, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed three lawsuits seeking property forfeiture and sent letters to folks associated with 66 MMJ storefronts in Anaheim and La Habra. Not only were the shops illegal under federal law, but under state law, according to a news release. "While these marijuana stores purport to be ‘medical marijuana dispensaries’ operating pursuant to California law, and claim to be distributing marijuana for medical purposes, such distribution is not a recognized exception to the [federal] Controlled Substances Act," the U.S. said in the lawsuits. The current round of threats brings to almost 300 the number of close-or-we-will-fuck-you-in-the-ass letters sent to operators in the Central District in the past 10 months. Ouch.
Then on Thursday in the kinder, gentler Western District of Washington, the Drug Enforcement Admistration sent letters to 23 "dispensaries" that are operating near schools, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Druken's office. "We all work hard to create a safe zone for kids in school. There is a reason that both federal and state laws prohibit sales of marijuana in school zones. We need to enforce one message for our students: drugs have no place in or near our schools,” Durken said. Ouch again, a little. I am down with keeping drugs away from kids, mmmkay?
If this all seems a bit depressing, please remember that it seems momentum is behind the MMJ community across the nation. The train is moving too fast for the federal government to stop it. Thank you, Western District of Washington, where federal officials seem to be reasonable and, well, kind. California U.S. attorneys, please take note of your esteemed colleagues in Washington. Meanwhile, I guess we will all just keep marching along in the MMJ parade under our umbrellas.