Pepper-Spraying Men Rob Marijuana Dispensary

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 19: Various types of marijuana are on display at Private Organic Therapy (P.O.T.), a non-profit co-operative medical marijuana dispensary, on October 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Attorney General Eric Holder announced new guidelines today for federal prosecutors in states where the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is allowed under state law. Federal prosecutors will no longer trump the state with raids on the southern California dispensaries as they had been doing, but Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley recently began a crackdown campaign that will include raids against the facilities. Cooley maintains that virtually all marijuana dispensaries are in violation of the law because they profit from their product. The city of LA has been slow to come to agreement on how to regulate its 800 to 1,000 dispensaries. Californians voted to allow sick people with referrals from doctors to consume cannabis with the passage of state ballot Proposition 215 in 1996 and a total of 14 states now allow the medicinal use of marijuana. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

    Police are searching for three men who robbed the Care Alternative Group medical marijuana dispensary on Thanksgiving.

    The suspects entered the North Park business in the afternoon, then one of them got a drink of water while some unsuspecting customers stood around waiting. The scene turned chaotic when the men jumped up on the counter, pepper-sprayed the receptionist, then headed into the back room while the customers fled.

    The first suspect burst through the door, jumped over the counter and began to beat an employee. The robber's accomplice rushed in, also unleashing pepper spray. while the other man stole the marijuana.

    The injured employee began to fight back, but the the criminals took off.

    "We certainly have had a number of these kinds of cases in the last three or four months," said San Diego police Lt. Dan Christman.

    The dispensary owners said the criminals got away with about $1,000 worth of pot. They said they recognized at least one of the men, who was a former customer. Investigators say the men made their get-away ina a gray Ford Focus, where a driver was waiting.