San Francisco's medical marijuana industry is back.
Following a cutback when the federal Justice Department cracked down on federally-illegal, state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, there are no shortage of entrepreneurs willing to risk prison terms in order to sell medical cannabis, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
Letters from the United States Department of Justice led eight of the city's licensed and taxpaying medical marijuana dispensaries to close down between Oct. 2011 and the summer of 2012, according to the newspaper. But no more dispensaries have received letters -- and now, new dispensaries are opening their doors.
Two new dispensaries near Mint Plaza have begun operations, the newspaper reported. And more have filed permits to open. There are dispensaries in downtown, in the Outer Mission, and all over.
They're doing business despite restrictive laws that leave over 90 percent of San Francisco off-limits to medical marijuana dispensaries, and a permitting system that requires hundreds of thousands of dollars of investment before a single bud can be put under glass for sale, the newspaper reported.
Federal law enforcement is still working to shut down some of the Bay Area cannabis trade -- Harborside Health Center, the nation's biggest cannabis dispensary, is the target of federal action and will have its case heard by a judge in coming months.