The Spokane, WA Spokesman-Review is reporting today on an alarming warning from the federal government: medical marijuana dispensaries in that city could be facing federal prosecution if their operations do not cease immediately.

This ultimatum came form the U.S. Attorney’s office yesterday, and targets not just the people running the dispensaries, but, in those cases where the premises are leased, the property owners as well.

In a statement to the press, Mike Ormsby, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Washington said that while voluntary compliance was desired, quick, direct action would be taken if necessary. He added, “We intend to use the full extent of our legal remedies to enforce the law.”

While they vary according to the amount of marijuana present at the time of a raid, the mandatory minimum sentences for some federal drug-related crimes can be ten years or longer.

There are more than forty dispensaries currently operating in the Spokane area, where local government has been waffling about the legality of such businesses for months now. There are similar services being operated in the western part of the state, but so far, there has been no announcement of any enforcement action there.

At this time, there has been no time-line announced by the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Local dispensary owners are understandably upset, and many are refusing to close.

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