Crackdown on marijuana pharmacies
Dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries in California have been ordered to close from today, as a federal crackdown looms.
Distributors and their landlords were told in late September to shut down in 45 days or face prosecution.
Some marijuana distributors filed for a temporary restraining order earlier this month.
California legalised medical marijuana in 1996, but use of the drug remains illegal under federal law.
US attorneys have said they are targeting large dispensary operators and growers, instead of individuals. For-profit sales are in violation of California’s state law.
The BBC’s Peter Bowes, in Los Angeles, reports that some outlets appear to have been targeted because they are near schools and parks.
Federal prosecutors say they are focusing on towns and cities that have already banned marijuana shops.
Medical marijuana advocates in California say the drug is a key element of palliative care for patients with a range of conditions, including cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma and arthritis.
Elsewhere in the US, the District of Columbia and 15 additional states allow patients to possess marijuana with a doctor’s prescription.
But many fear the prescriptions are misused and the drug is in effect being made legally available to healthy recreational users. (BBC)