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Authorities crack down on Los Angeles medical marijuana shops

Published on Sep 26, 2012 9:20 AM

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Federal authorities moved to close down 71 medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles and a neighboring community on Tuesday, marking the latest broadside in an ongoing war over California's cannabis trade.

The move also comes on the heels of a municipal ban on storefront pot shops in Los Angeles that was put on hold after activists challenged it in court and by referendum.

The number of medical marijuana stores in Los Angeles, estimated to number between 472 and nearly 1,000, has made it a hub for America's medicinal cannabis trade and put the city at the center of legal and political battles over the issue.

"Over the past several years, we have seen an explosion of commercial marijuana stores, an explosion that is being driven by the massive profits associated with marijuana distribution," US Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said in a written statement.

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