Last week’s announcement that U.S. attorneys from across the state are cracking down on medical marijuana dispensaries should come as welcome news to anyone who suspects that these clinics are operating outside of both the law and the good intentions of the state’s voters.
According to Laura Duffy, the U.S. Attorney in San Diego, “hundreds” of warning letters have been sent to operators and landlords of dispensaries, telling them to close within 45 days and that they are each in violation of both federal and state laws.
The warning letters note that the operation of a marijuana store “may result in criminal prosecution, imprisonment, fines and forfeiture of assets, including the real property on which the dispensary is operating and any money you receive (or have received) from the dispensary operator.’’ Ramona has had one dispensary that came under scrutiny and has since closed.
California’s voters in 1996 approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes. But the system that has been set up for “sick” patients to purchase marijuana for “medicinal” purposes has been abused, and needs further regulations. Anyone with a little imagination and a good lead on a sympathetic doctor can obtain the necessary card to gain entrance to any of these dispensaries.
The benefits of the use of marijuana by patients suffering from a variety of ailments have been documented and, 10 years from now, will no longer be a subject of debate. But until there is complete legalization and tighter regulation, we believe that marijuana should be prescribed by doctors in specific strength levels and distributed through reputable pharmacies, the same as other controlled medications.