The Voice reported yesterday that the U.S. Department of Justice, backed by Barack Obama’s administration, has started to crackdown on landlords who lease space to medical marijuana dispensaries — and is threatening them with eviction.
Now, news reports out of California indicate that federal authorities are targeting pot shop proprietors and their bank accounts — arresting six east of Los Angeles on Thursday.
First, the bookings: Six associated with medical marijuana dispensary chain G3 Holistic Inc. were arrested yesterday on charges of “conspiracy to manufacture and possess marijuana and maintaining a drug-involved premises,” according to Reuters.
G3 runs three shops in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
And in Sacramento, as detailed by the Sacramento Bee, the Internal Revenue Service is trying to use federal money laundering laws to pressure dispensaries into closing.
The IRS issued a seizure warrant against Sacramento’s El Camino Wellness Center, for example, confiscating some $870,000 in recent months.
An investigator said in an affidavit that the Center, though registered with the city, “distributed ‘illegal drugs’ from ‘their illegal marijuana store’ and conspired with ‘co-schemers’ to hide profits from a purportedly nonprofit dispensary.”
This comes as part of a DOJ investigation against the dispensary.
Remember that medical marijuana is legal under California statute.
Another Sacramento dispensary faced 80 grand in cash confiscations last year. The store wound up closing, the paper notes.
The DOJ started targeting California’s medical marijuana industry in October. However other states, including New York, are working to reform weed regulations. Prescription pot is legal in 17 states and Washington D.C.
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.