The federal government’s crackdown on the medical cannabis industry in California is an attempt to shut down marijuana businesses raking in huge profits at the expense of patients, according to the U.S. attorney in Sacramento.
“We have received information that some storefront marijuana stores…are selling marijuana at a markup of at least 200 percent over what they are buying it for,” Attorney Benjamin Wagner said yesterday, according to the Sacramento Bee. “That is not about treating seriously ill people. It’s about profits.”
Wagner made the comments during a luncheon at the Sacramento Press Club, where he discussed the crackdown with reporters, cannabis professionals and pot advocates.
The U.S. attorney said that the industry has spiraled out of control and is now an “unregulated free-for-all,” adding that some dispensaries in Sacramento are selling marijuana for double or triple what they’re buying it for and raking in huge profits. According to California medical cannabis laws, all dispensaries are supposed to operate as nonprofits.
Wagner – while stressing that the government is not targeting patients who genuinely need marijuana to ease pain – said the crackdown has been relatively measured considering the proliferation of people abusing the state’s MMJ laws. He also revealed the next stage in the crackdown: Large commercial marijuana farms in the Central Valley that contain tens of thousands of plants and often are protected by armed men.
Wagner, however, sidestepped a question about the lack of clarity on which dispensaries his office will target and which ones it intends to leave alone. His answer: You don’t ask police how far over the speed limit you can go.
An attorney on hand at the press club event responded by saying that medical marijuana dispensaries and growers just want to know “what the speed limit is” rather than how far over it they can go.