It's hard to understand the federal government's plan on marijuana. First, President Barack Obama helped encouraged a boom in cultivation and in dispensing when he said states were in charge and he wasn't going to get involved. Then his Justice Department shut down hundreds of dispensaries across the state — including nine in San Francisco, a third of the city's total — in a crackdown that began Oct. 7, 2011.
Over the summer, the feds took aim at the biggest fish, Oakland's Harborside Health Center (who will meet the feds in court Dec. 13). Then something funny happened: The crackdown stopped. Cannabis dispensaries opened up in San Francisco without issue. One just opened in downtown, steps from Market Street. The feds did nothing. So now, one of the nine shut down by federal pressure has simply unlocked the door, flicked on the lights, and opened for business again. Is the crackdown over, or with small amounts of marijuana legalized for all adults in Colorado and Washington, do the feds simply have better things to do?