Sacramento, CA: United States Deputy Attorney General James Cole, along with the four US Attorneys from California, publicly announced their intention Friday to escalate federal efforts targeting the state's medical cannabis dispensaries and providers.
These efforts include the increased use of civil forfeiture proceedings against dispensary owners and their landlords, officials stated.
The DOJ announcement came just days after the Internal Revenue Service determined that marijuana dispensaries can no longer claim standard business expenses such as payroll, security or rent on their federally filed tax returns.
The administration's recent actions conflict with the President's pledge to cease utilizing "Justice Department resources to try and circumvent state laws on this issue."
Commenting on the federal government's stepped up enforcement threats, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: "If the federal government is truly concerned about the diversion of medical marijuana or its potential abuse in California then it would be better served to encourage -- rather than to discourage -- local and statewide efforts to regulate this industry accordingly. The Obama Administration's proposed actions in California will only result in limiting patients' regulated, safe access to medicine. It will also cost California jobs and needed tax revenue."
He added: "Regulating medical marijuana dispensaries and prosecuting those who act in a manner that is inconsistent with California law and voters' sentiment should be a responsibility left to the state, not the federal government. It is time for this Administration to fulfill the assurances it gave to the medical cannabis community and to respect the decisions of voters and lawmakers in states that recognize its therapeutic efficacy."
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Deputy Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information is available via NORML's 'Take Action' Center at: http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=54512501.