13 Nov 2011

Federal crackdown on cannabis stores in California

5:38 am on 13 November 2011

The US government has ordered dozens of shops in California that sell cannabis for medicinal purposes to close from Saturday or face prosecution.

Using marijuana for medical reasons is banned under federal law, but was made legal under state law in California in 1966.

Distributors and their landlords were told in late September to shut in 45 days or face prosecution.

Some marijuana distributors filed for a temporary restraining order earlier this month.

The BBC reports some outlets appear to have been targeted because they are near schools and parks.

Federal prosecutors say they are focusing on towns and cities that have already banned marijuana shops.

Elsewhere in the United States, the District of Columbia and 15 additional states allow patients to possess marijuana with a doctor's prescription.

But the BBC reports many fear the prescriptions are misused and the drug is in effect being made legally available to healthy recreational users.