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Oakland Warned Pot Farms Would Break U.S. Law

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A vial of medical marijuana

Marijuana is poured from a jar at at medical marijuana dispensary. (David McNew/Getty Images)

OAKLAND (AP) — Northern California’s top federal prosecutor has warned Oakland officials that large-scale marijuana farms licensed by the city would violate U.S. law and could lead to a crackdown.

The letter from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag dated Tuesday offers the first clear signal that the Justice Department would not tolerate even city-sanctioned growing operations.

The warning comes despite the Obama administration’s hands-off approach to states that have legalized medical marijuana.

Haag said prosecutors would not pursue seriously ill patients following state medical marijuana law, but cautions that distributors and manufacturers could be targeted.

In July, Oakland became the nation’s first city to authorize licensing marijuana cultivation operations.

The city council in December halted the license application process after the Alameda County District Attorney warned the city’s ordinance likely broke state law.

(© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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