Signaling a further retreat by the Obama administration, the U.S. Attorney in California’s Central Valley warned farmers and landowners that their property could be confiscated if they grow marijuana.
Early in his administration, President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder indicated a reluctance to prosecute medical marijuana growers. While still banned under federal law, many states have passed legislation legalizing its production and sale for medical purposes. California is one of those states and its medical marijuana industry grew rapidly in the wake of the administration’s lax enforcement.
However, federal officials believe that recreational marijuana producers are operating within the gray area created by the medical marijuana laws. In order to prevent large-scale narcotics trafficking, the Obama administration has begun cracking down on pot farms and has put pressure on banks to refuse to do business with pot dispensaries.
The head of the Fresno Farm Bureau welcomed the announcement by the U.S. Attorney, arguing that pot farms are a danger to the farming community. According to the Fresno Farm Bureau, absentee landowners operate the farms. “It looks like it’s mostly outsiders. It’s not most of the mainstream farmers and ranchers who have been there for generations,” the Farm Bureau chief said. “A lot of this is not necessarily being grown for California medicinal marijuana use. A lot of it’s being exported to other states.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer