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Critics of the crackdown worry that the medical-marijuana market is being driven underground, to the benefit of real criminals. After the closure of one dispensary in San Francisco, Mira Ingram, a medical-marijuana patient for more than a decade, began to notice a new breed of street dealers in her neighborhood who catered to the infirm with brand-name strains like OG Kush and Cherry Pie. "They assume that I would use it because I am in a wheelchair," says Ingram, 44. "The whole neighborhood has changed for the worse." That's the fear of officials like San Francisco's district attorney, George Gascn. "We don't want people selling drugs on the corner, just like we don't want people selling beer and wine on the corner," he says.
The feds counter that legalized pot is breeding crime too and that state and local officials aren't managing it. And so President Obama, who once promised to respect states' rights on medical marijuana, now runs for re-election amid the haze of increasing federal intervention.