Medical marijuana crackdown gets tighter

For medical marijuana advocates, it’s a backhanded slap in the face.

Despite earlier pronouncements showing tepid support for states’ medical marijuana laws, the Obama administration last year reversed its position. Since then the DEA has exponentially increased its “investigations” into dozens of dispensaries around the state.

Now, 12 of the remaining 21 medical marijuana dispensaries in the San Francisco area are being threatened.

The tactics used by the DEA, under other circumstances, would probably be considered unethical, even thuggish. The agency has made demands for private information not normally released, even though dispensaries are already inspected on a yearly basis by state officials.

They have even issued letters to landlords threatening prosecution and prison time if the dispensaries were not shut down.

Medical marijuana advocates are frustrated that the DEA and the U.S. attorneys are going after legal, compliant operations instead of focusing their attention on untaxed, illegal operations.

Still more aggravating is what advocates see as a lack of action on the part of The City to change that. Instead of the fighting against the crackdown, the city has largely cooperated with the DEA, suspending its permitting process last fall to prevent the opening of any new dispensaries.

And while the city’s Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in support medical marijuana last fall, they have not taken any action since.

“There a definite void in leadership here,” said state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco. Federal enforcement, he claims, is “undermining the will of [California] voters,” who voted to legalize marijuana for medical use way back in 1996.

Unfortunately, the outlook for dispensaries probably won’t improve anytime soon.