Several San Diego area pharmacies were notified Tuesday that they were about to be shut down, in what U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy called "hoax" letters.
"This office did not issue those press releases," Duffy said. "We are looking into the source of the emails."
According to the bogus letters, Duffy was going to continue her opposition to marijuana dispensaries and shut down pharmacies she believed were not in compliance with prescription drug laws.
The fake letters were sent out in cooperation with the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access, Canvass for a Cause and The Yes Men, a group infamous for pulling satirical pranks on mass media, ASA and Canvass for a Cause representatives said.
The Yes Men's Mike Bonanno also confirmed the group helped medical marijuana advocates carry out the hoax as part of their Yes Labs project.
Around 8 a.m., media organizations began getting phone calls and emails reporting the fake crackdown, which threatened closure of the pharmacies within 45 days.
The fake organization Federal Accountability Coalition claimed responsibility for the fake emails and letters on the group's Facebook page, saying it was done to draw attention to Duffy and her mission to close medical marijuana dispensaries.
The man who represents himself as Dexter Haight in the video is actually Dave White with the Agitprop Gallery of San Diego.
“Just as the closure of retail pharmacies, like CVS or Walgreens, is poor public health policy, so is the federal government’s crackdown on medical cannabis dispensaries,” said Eugene Davidovich of San Diego ASA.
“Pharmacies, like medical cannabis dispensaries, play an essential role in our communities as they help the sick and dying treat and manage various medical conditions,” he said in a press release Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier this month, the Lemon Grove City Council on a citizen's initiative to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in the city. Council members also decided to draft a competing measure to be placed on the November ballot.
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What do you think? Is this an appropriate or good way to deliver a message?
City News Service contributed to this report.