Federal Agents Target O.C. Medical-Marijuana Chain

Federal agents arrested 13 people on Thursday as part of a drug-trafficking investigation that targeted a chain of marijuana dispensaries and an Orange County man known as “Pops” who is accused of running it.

The storefront dispensaries have distributed more than a ton of marijuana and generated tens of millions of dollars in income, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Most shut down after raids in 2010 and 2011, but at least one – Garden Grove Alternative Care – remains open.

An employee there, Amber Jenkins, said the dispensary reopened after a 2011 raid with a new owner, new employees and a new location, and has nothing to do with the people arrested Thursday.

Federal prosecutors have been cracking down since last year on what they describe as the “large, for-profit marijuana industry” that has flourished in California. State law allows the use of marijuana for medical purposes, but offers few guidelines for how patients can obtain it – a legal grey area into which stepped hundreds of supposedly not-for-profit dispensaries.

Federal law, however, still treats marijuana as a controlled substance. The 13 people arrested Thursday – many described in court papers as suppliers and dispensary managers – were all charged with conspiring to distribute the drug.

– Read the entire article at The Orange County Register.