U.S. Attorney In San Diego Vows Crackdown On Stations Running Medical Marijuana Ads
October 13, 2011 at 4:07 AM (PT)
In an interview with CALIFORNIA WATCH and KQED-F-TV/SAN FRANCISCO, U.S. Attorney LAURA E. DUFFY said that her office would be cracking down on advertising by medical marijuana dispensaries. DUFFY, whose district includes SAN DIEGO COUNTY and IMPERIAL COUNTY in the southernmost portion of the state, said that federal law prohibits ads for illegal drugs, including pot, in "any newspaper, magazine, handbill or other publication," and that she would take on radio, TV and print outlets accepting the ads first with "notification that they are in violation of federal law." She added, though, that she believes she has the power to prosecute station owners and newspaper publishers, and said that she will "read (the law) expansively and if a court wants to more narrowly define it, that would be up to the court."
Attorney WILLIAM G. PANZER told CALIFORNIA WATCH that he is not aware of any cases in appellate court about the law in question and said that an action against a publisher is "arguable, but the statute is not entirely clear on that." A first offense could draw a maximum of four years in prison (doubled if the defendant has a prior felony conviction).
Asked about DUFFY's reading of the law by the BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN, a spokesperson for U.S. Attorney BEN WAGNER, who serves the Eastern District of the state, said he is not currently focusing on the media taking ads from the dispensaries but did not comment on future plans.