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Rash of pot dispensaries closing in San Diego County

November 30, 2011 | 12:13 pm


Nearly two-thirds of the medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego County that received toughly worded letters from federal officials last month have voluntarily shut down, the U.S. attorney's office announced Wednesday.

The letters warned the dispensary owners and operators of possible criminal charges and asset forfeiture if they continued to operate beyond 45 days.

Of approximately 222 business and property owners who were given the letters, 139 (62.6%) have closed, said U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy. Another 9% have promised to close within the next two weeks, Duffy said.

Duffy is among several federal prosecutors in California who have taken a tough stand against the dispensaries, warning that federal law bans the sale of marijuana and that federal law trumps state law, which permits its sale for medical use.

San Diego City Atty. Jan Goldsmith has joined the anti-pot movement, seeking court orders against dozens of dispensaries within the city limits.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: A marijuana plant for sale at dispensary in Seattle. Credit: Associated Press