US Attorneys threaten Calif. medical pot dispensaries with widespread closures
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Federal prosecutors have launched a crackdown on pot dispensaries in California, warning the stores that they must shut down in 45 days or face criminal charges and confiscation of their property even if they are operating legally under the state's 15-year-old medical marijuana law.
In an escalation of the ongoing conflict between the U.S. government and the nation's burgeoning medical marijuana industry, at least 16 pot shops or their landlords received letters this week stating they are violating federal drug laws, even though medical marijuana is legal in California. The state's four U.S. attorneys are scheduled to announce a broader coordinated crackdown at a Friday news conference.
Their offices refused to confirm the closure orders. The Associated Press obtained copies of the letters that a prosecutor sent to at least 12 San Diego dispensaries. They state that federal law "takes precedence over state law and applies regardless of the particular uses for which a dispensary is selling and distributing marijuana."
"Under United States law, a dispensary's operations involving sales and distribution of marijuana are illegal and subject to criminal prosecution and civil enforcement actions," letters signed by U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy in San Diego read. "Real and personal property involved in such operations are subject to seizure by and forfeiture to the United States ... regardless of the purported purpose of the dispensary."
The move comes a little more than two months after the Obama administration toughened its stand on medical marijuana following a two-year period during which federal officials had indicated they would not move aggressively against dispensaries in compliance with laws in the 16 states where pot is legal for people with doctors' recommendations.
CDC: 60 percent rise in children's trips to ERs for concussions from sports, recreation
ATLANTA (AP) - The number of athletic children going to hospitals with concussions is up 60 percent in the past decade, a finding that is likely due to parents and coaches being more careful about treating head injuries, according to a new federal study.
"It's a good increase, if that makes any sense," said Steve Marshall, interim director of the University of North Carolina's Injury Prevention and Research Center.
"These injuries were always there. It's not that there are more injuries now. It's just that now people are getting treatment that they weren't getting before," said Marshall, who was not involved in the new research.
Bicycling and football were the leading reasons for the kids' brain injuries, but health officials said that could be at least partly related to the popularity of those activities. For example, it's possible many more kids bike, so a larger number of bike-related injuries would be expected.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study is based on a survey of 66 hospital emergency departments that was designed to be nationally representative. The CDC looked at non-fatal data for the years 2001 through 2009 for kids and teens ages 19 and younger.
Nobel Prize in literature goes to psychologist who became Sweden's best-known poet
STOCKHOLM (AP) - The Nobel Prize in literature was awarded Thursday to a psychologist who used his spare time to craft sparsely written poems about the mysteries of everyday life - commuting to work, watching the sun rise or waiting for nightfall.
Tomas Transtromer, Sweden's most famous poet, had been a favorite for the prize for so many years that even his countrymen had started to doubt whether he would ever win.
Now 80 and retired from writing, he finally got the call as he sat down to watch the prize announcement on TV.
Asked how it felt to be the first Swede in four decades to win the literature prize, he told reporters: "Very good."
He gave mostly one-syllable answers to questions, the result of a stroke more than two decades ago that left him partially paralyzed and largely unable to speak. His wife, Monica, filled in the details.