Justice Department shoots down commercial marijuana cultivation

Obama administration clarifies its policy as cities such as Oakland have considered allowing large-scale, privately-operated farms to supply medical pot dispensaries — and generate more tax revenue.

With marijuana sold openly at retail stores throughout California, some advocates, pot growers and even city officials believed authorized commercial cultivation could be next. But the Obama administration dashed that notion this week, making clear it will not allow such operations.

In a letter sent Wednesday to federal prosecutors, Deputy Atty. Gen. James M. Cole noted that some cities and states have considered plans for “multiple large-scale, privately-operated industrial marijuana cultivation centers” and wrote that the administration’s hands-off policy on medical marijuana patients was “never intended to shield such activities from federal enforcement action and prosecution, even where those activities purport to comply with state law.”

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