Local ordinances give way to state law; state law gives way to federal. That’s a lesson of a federated government that proponents of medicinal marijuana are learning the hard way.

The U.S. Attorneys in California have sent letters to the proprietors of marijuana dispensaries and their landlords, notifying them that they have 45 days to close shop or face prosecution and civil punishments. This action, taken despite the 15-year old proposition approving medicinal marijuana has proponents of responsible use up in arms.

Just days after Governor Brown re-affirmed the right of local governments to dictate their own marijuana policies, the federal government seems to have made it a non-issue. Whether or not a city wants a dispensary, the threat of federal convictions could be enough to keep them from opening at all.

From the Associated Press:

Federal prosecutors have launched a crackdown on some pot dispensaries in California, warning the stores that they must shut down in 45 days or face criminal charges and confiscation of their property even if they are operating legally under the state’s 15-year-old medical marijuana law.

In an escalation of the ongoing conflict between the U.S. government and the nation’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry, at least 16 pot shops or their landlords received letters this week stating they are violating federal drug laws, even though medical marijuana is legal in California. The state’s four U.S. attorneys were scheduled Friday to announce a broader coordinated crackdown.

Read the full article here.