Feds Step in to Shut Down California Pot Shops

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Federal authorities are cracking down on marijuana shops across California.

Officials say the clinics are lucrative businesses that operate under the notion that they're helping the sick, when in fact the shops violate federal drug and money laundering laws.

"What we are seeing is a wholesale violation of both federal and state law by some people involved in the industry," said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman with the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.

"There are huge amounts of money going into this industry," he added. "It's our position that this goes way beyond simply paying rent and cultivating marijuana."

The shops have been growing and selling medical marijuana for years. Local municipalities have fought back against the stores in court, with millions of dollars spent in legal fees.

Cities asked the federal government for help after growing frustrated with pot collectives flouting California laws.

Some of the marijuana clinics have closed because landlords were threatened with criminal charges or seizure of their assets by state attorneys.

Central District of California attorneys warned clinic landlords that they had just 14 days to evict their clients, which expired Friday.

Other districts in the Golden State gave the pot shops more time to comply.

The recent crackdown has drawn a backlash from medical marijuana advocates who say the shops are protected by California law.

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