Medical Marijuana: Feds Threaten Pot Shop Landlords
Right as New York's Assembly voted to greenlight prescription pot, federal authorities continue to put pressure on states with legal medical weed -- targeting dispensaries and now, landlords who lease space to marijuana shops.
Reuters reports that U.S. law enforcement has given some California landlords an ultimatum: Shut down these shops, or lose your property.
Here's the thing: Medical marijuana is perfectly legal in California. However, the federal government does not recognize its legality, and says that it violates a 40 year-old controlled substance law. So, the U.S. Department of Justice want to take down the $1.7 billion medical bud industry, but without a "costly and potentially embarrassing criminal prosecutions."
Sources tell Reuters that the DOJ fears failure if it pursues anti-pot measures in a criminal context -- prosecutors might not only lose expensive cases, but worry about becoming unpopular with the electorate.
Remember that this isn't the only thing the feds have tried recently. In addition to direct crackdowns, they've also tried to get banks to stop processing pot-related transactions.
So yes -- while there's been a lot of reform lately, there's been just as much pushback.
As mentioned before, one thing authorities will definitely pay attention to is the political element of pot policies. As evidenced in Oregon, weed can influence elections, and open-minded candidates might have an advantage over their competition.
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.