Last week the US Justice Department announced a crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries in California, arguing that federal law trumps state law with regard to controlled substances.
This week, a California US attorney is upping the ante, saying that she will prosecute any newspaper, radio or television station that advertises medical marijuana dispensaries.
Via California Watch:
U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy, whose district includes Imperial and San Diego counties, said marijuana advertising is the next area she’s “going to be moving onto as part of the enforcement efforts in Southern California.” Duffy said she could not speak for the three other U.S. attorneys covering the state but noted their efforts have been coordinated so far.
“I’m not just seeing print advertising,” Duffy said in an interview with California Watch and KQED. “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.”
Federal law prohibits people from placing ads for illegal drugs, including marijuana, in “any newspaper, magazine, handbill or other publication.” The law could conceivably extend to online ads; the U.S. Department of Justice recently extracted a $500 million settlement from Google for selling illegal ads linking to online Canadian pharmacies.
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.
Marijuana dispensary ads currently appear in a wide range of alternative publications, as well as mainstream ones such as the McClatchy-owned Sacramento Bee.
Nothing like First Amendment meeting Drug War meeting States Rights meeting Federal Authority to start the day.