U.S. Attorneys Defend Marijuana Crackdown in California, Describe Sacramento Busts

October 06, 2011

Sam Cohen, Fox40 News

U.S. District Attorneys across California are cracking down on the sale, distribution and cultivation of marijuana in California. Several medical marijuana stores and growers in the Sacramento area have been caught in their net.

California medical marijuana dispensaries are supposed to be non-profit businesses, however the U.S. Attorneys are claiming that is not the case. It was reported earlier this week that U.S. Attorneys have sent warning letters to dozens of pot dispensaries across the state alerting them they have 45 days to close their doors.

Several criminal cases are now pending from the crackdown; including a seized pot grow in a Modesto cornfield, a Los Angeles lawyer allegedly involved in a marijuana cultivation business, and a large marijuana grow in Stockton that was linked to local marijuana stores.

In the case of the Los Angeles lawyer, seven search warrants were served in Sacramento, Sutter and Tehama counties in connection with that grow. The results led to a total of 12 defendants indicted. “While in clear violation of federal law, the Jopson Ranch Grow and the Cal Nevada Grow attempted to use California medical marijuana law to cloak their business activities,” according to the press release from the U.S. District Attorney.

Last week, a grand jury returned an indictment charging six men with conspiracy to grow and distribute marijuana following a search of R&R Wellness in Sacramento. According to the U.S. Attorney’s release, 139 pounds of marijuana were found in the store, and $280,000 in cash was found at Bryan Smith’s home. Smith owns R&R Wellness, and was growing some of his own plants on the side.

The charges included in the U.S. District Attorney’s crackdown date back to November 2010.

Other actions taken in Sacramento include seizing bank accounts of One Love Wellness Center and Mary Jane’s Wellness; reportedly they deposited large amounts of cash over several weeks. Federal agents also searched a property along Fruitridge Road in South Sacramento and found more than 3,300 marijuana plants under cultivation.

The group Americans for Safe Access held a rally outside the courthouse, protesting the U.S. Attorneys’ crackdown.

U.S. Attorney in Sacramento Benjamin Wagner was joined at Friday’s event by Melinda Haag, U.S. Attorney in San Francisco, Andre Birotte, Jr., U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles and Laura Duffy, U.S. Attorney in San Diego.

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