Feds file lawsuits against CA pot growers, sellers

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — Federal officials have filed three lawsuits against marijuana shops and growers in Santa Barbara, Calif. and have sent warning letters to 10 more in the county.

U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said in a release Thursday that the latest action means all known marijuana stores in the county are now facing federal law enforcement actions.

The lawsuits allege that the owners knowingly allowed commercial marijuana stores to operate or knowingly allowed large indoor marijuana farms to function.

California law allows the drug to be cultivated and supplied to ill people on a nonprofit basis.

But marijuana is still illegal under federal law and federal officials say pot clinics are lucrative ventures.

One of the defendants in Thursday's lawsuits, Miramar Collective, is accused of generating annual profits of $840,000 in 2009.