Obama Administration Now Plans to Target Advertisements for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in California

President Obama doesn't just want to seize the property of California medical-marijuana dispensaries and hit them with huge tax bills.

Now the Obama Administration plans to prosecute people who place ads for dispensaries -- and possibly the newspapers that print them.

One of the four U.S. Attorneys in California, Laura Duffy, told online news site California Watch and California radio station KQED that she intends to move against the dispensary industry's advertisements, California Watch reported today.

Duffy told reporters:

"I'm not just seeing print advertising ... I'm actually hearing radio and seeing TV advertising. It's gone mainstream. Not only is it inappropriate -- one has to wonder what kind of message we're sending to our children - it's against the law."

The article further states:

Duffy said her effort against TV, radio or print outlets would first include "going after these folks with ... notification that they are in violation of federal law." She noted that she also has the power to seize property or prosecute in civil and criminal court.


Duffy said she believes the law gives her the right to prosecute newspaper publishers or TV station owners.

"If I own a newspaper ... or I own a TV station, and I'm going to take in your money to place these ads, I'm the person who is placing these ads," Duffy said. "I am willing to read [the law] expansively, and if a court wants to more narrowly define it, that would be up to the court."

Duffy also hinted that the state's other three U.S. Attorneys soon would look at pot-dispensary ads, too -- she noted that last week's demand that all dispensaries close down is a coordinated effort by all four of the state's top federal prosecutors.

California Watch talked to an attorney who said media outlets could face trouble because of federal law that prohibits the advertising of illegal drugs.

Newspapers, which have seen declining ad revenue in recent years, have benefited from the ads related to the medical marijuana industry. Many ads don't deal directly with dispensaries, instead advertising doctors, grow-lights, or other ancillary businesses. Dispensaries themselves do place prominent ads in California and Colorado -- even on TV.

It seems like Obama's doing his best to shore up the moralistic teetotaler vote.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.