In the past few months the federal government has begun cracking down on medical marijuana programs across the board. Dispensaries, people who lease office space to dispensary owners, and even patient growers are at risk of prosecution despite state law that gives such people permission to take part in the medical marijuana program. There are a number of individuals who have not taken the warnings from the federal government seriously who may find themselves in trouble if they do not heed the call.
In the last year, U.S. attorneys sent warning letters to several states regarding medical marijuana laws: Stating that people involved in the growing, dispensing, and regulating of medical marijuana have the potential to be prosecuted, despite following state laws. The letters were sent to officials in:
- Rhode Island
Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh, says that the 23 marijuana dispensaries located near schools in Colorado that received warning letters last week telling them they must shut down should take the warning seriously.
He told the Associated Press the letters informed the dispensaries owners and their landlords that they have until February 27 to shut down, move, or else face federal penalties. Owners of the dispensaries and the property on which they are located could lose their assets and property, and they may also be facing criminal prosecution.
“We haven’t been sitting by. We’ve been taking marijuana enforcement action,” disputing the claim that the federal government has backed Colorado’s marijuana industry by not increasing enforcement, Walsh told the AP.
Walsh claims that some surveys show that medical marijuana has increased drug use among teenagers.