Like pot entrepreneurs in other states with non-federal laws allowing medical marijuana, Gross thought he was operating under state law, and most critically, after the federal Department of Justice told its prosecutors to back off marijuana cases early in President Obama’s first term. But California’s four U.S. attorneys decided that they did not like the industry’s rapid growth and began enforcing a gamut of federal laws to destroy it, especially taking aim at the large cultivators and retailers.
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This month, John Lester Gross III, a 48-year-old Californian, became another casualty in the federal government’s escalating war on marijuana. He plead gulity and was sentenced to 19-plus years for creating and running a dispensary in Sacramento and a nearby farm, where federal agents said they found 2,800 plants and 100 pounds of trimmed pot.
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