In the wake of a federal crackdown announced eight weeks ago, 139 (or 62%) of the medical marijuana dispensaries in the San Diego area have closed their doors. The shut downs are due to threats of criminal prosecution by the Feds. That is a huge percentage of dispensaries closing down, considering there were only 222 total dispensaries in San Diego to begin with. Authorities expected a further 20 to shut down in the coming two weeks.
The U.S. Attorney’s office and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration led the crackdown on dispensaries that are approved under California law, but illegal in the eyes of federal agencies, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Tuesday. Pressure on those that remain open, however, is increasing.
Alex Kreit, a professor at San Diego’s Thomas Jefferson School of Law, doubted the move would remove medical marijuana from the city.
“If you only had 10 places operating and you prosecute five, the other five are going to close. But if you have 200 and there’s still 100 operating after these letters, well, the letters clearly haven’t worked,” he said. “I think that the places operating now are assuming that there’s probably going to be a few federal prosecutions, and they are just keeping their fingers crossed hoping that it’s not them.”
California approved medical marijuana 15 years ago, but the drug is still illegal under federal law.