Patient Advocates Condemn Federal DEA Raids in San Diego

Federal agents raided at least three San Diego-area medical marijuana dispensaries today in the early morning hours.

Sources say that Green Kross, Unified Collective and Kush Lounge were all served federal search warrants and were subjected to aggressive SWAT-style raids which resulted in the arrest of as many as 12 people and the seizure of money, medical marijuana and patient records. These raids come as the City of San Diego is deliberating an ordinance to regulate the local distribution of medical marijuana.

“The patient community is outraged by these actions and demands answers,” said Eugene Davidovich of the local San Diego chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country’s leading medical marijuana advocacy group. “Why is the federal government attempting to undermine our local efforts to regulate?” A recent San Diego Gran Jury encouraged local governments to follow through on implementing state law by regulating medical marijuana distribution facilities that provide needed medicine to patients throughout the county. Both the City and County of San Diego are on the verge of approving regulatory ordinances.

Several federal raids have occurred in San Diego over the past few years, typically with the cooperation of local law enforcement and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. The latest raids happened in September 2009 under a multi-agency law enforcement operation. Despite the confidence of Dumanis in prosecuting state cases against local dispensary operators, one of them being Davidovich, they have only resulted in jury acquittals. “Despite a failure to win convictions in state court, Dumanis continues to aggressively enforce and prosecute groundless medical marijuana cases,” continued Davidovich.

In October 2009, one month after raids were conducted on more than a dozen medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego, the Justice Department issued a new policy aimed at deemphasizing federal enforcement in medical marijuana states. Nonetheless, the Justice Department has continued to take action in California and other medical marijuana states, with San Diego dispensaries being the latest targets. In addition, the first federal trial of a medical marijuana provider under the Obama Administration is due to take place in the next few weeks. San Diego dispensary operator James Stacy was raided in the same September 2009 raid, but is being federally prosecuted. He is currently trying to mount an entrapment and medical use defense, something routinely denied federal medical marijuana defendants due to court rules that favor the prosecution.

“These raids underscore the importance of developing a comprehensive federal policy on medical marijuana, which will also allow states to care for the health and welfare of their people without unnecessary federal interference,” said ASA Government Affairs Director Caren Woodson. “It is not the purview of the federal government to enforce local or state laws.”

Further Information:
October 2009 Justice Department policy directive on medical marijuana: http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/archives/192

– Article from Americans For Safe Access.

Comments

12 Comments

  1. Blossom on

    The DEA is out of control. Their actions defy conventions and they continue to plunder without restraint. We need to limit their power by asking for nothing less than full legalization.

  2. Anonymous on

    “Actually, the UN does allow Cannabis for medical use anyway. Otherwise, they would have cracked down on Canada by now, not to mention Holland.”

    Now that’s funny, you think the UN has teeth or something. The UN doesn’t do squat about anything other than having debates to have a debate to debate something that may need to be debated about. And even then, they pass unbinding resolutions or put a bad mark on your permanent record and no gold star for you.

    Since the USA is stupid enough to stay in that group, and pays in the most dues than any other UN member country… The UN isn’t going to try anything like that. How are they doing to enforce it? Using military force of its members?
    I don’t think that would go well if it was against what the US/Canada relationship we have.

  3. Anonymous on

    I have to wonder what the motivation of the Feds is for doing these raids. The states have decided that medical mj is a reasonable thing. My understanding of the Constitution is that the feds are supposed to be there basically to maintain fair relations between the states and protection of the union of states by a national military. When did they become the dictators to the states of what medicines they allow doctors to prescribe? Their only basis for these raids is the fact that Cannabis was obviously and egregiously put in the wrong schedule with opiates. Those very same feds are responsible for pressuring the UN to adopt a similarly bizarre scheduling of Cannabis and then they say “look, the UN won’t let us permit Cannabis”. Actually, the UN does allow Cannabis for medical use anyway. Otherwise, they would have cracked down on Canada by now, not to mention Holland. So in fact there really is no basis for the feds to inflict such a law on the states which they are supposed to protect, other than Nixon’s insanity. Since Obama hasn’t been able to figure that out, I can only conclude that he is as bad and stupid as Nixon.

  4. B on

    While you are right that the price of legal cannabis should be lower than current prices, the government should NOT set the prices for the final product. First of all, I don’t know where you got the idea that the government sets the price for booze and cigs. Do you live in a state where they have state run booze stores by chance? I don’t. In my state (NY), the only control gov’t has over prices is the taxes laid on the products. While this does heavily impact the final price – the idiots that run this state just set up the groundwork for a huge black market by drastically increasing cig taxes – it’s not the same as the government setting the price of the product.

    In fact, even the idea of an arbitrary dollar amount tax, such as the proposed $50/oz tax in Cali, is asinine. A tax should be assessed as a reasonable percentage of the final price of a product. In NY, we now pay an arbitrary tax of $4 or $5 per pack of cigs, but that arbitrary amount was arrived at by incremental increases in the percentage of tax paid on the product. This also provides a good example of why the $50/oz tax is absolutely ludicrous. The cig tax has become so onerous that I am already aware of at least one person in the week or so since the tax increased who is planning to start smuggling cigs from down south and selling them on the black market. This type of activity will only increase as taxes increase. If we allow the government to place such a heavy tax on cannabis, we will see a continuation of the black market. Once it’s legal and growers are allowed to take advantage of economies of scale without having to hide from authorities, the cost of producing cannabis will probably be a little bit higher than that of producing tobacco. The taxes and final prices should reflect this reality. If they do not, and final prices are similar to where they are now, a violent black market will continue to thrive.

    An aside to the anonymous below who believes the raids were justified because the dispensary owners bought cars and houses with their profit – WTF? Are you saying dispensary owners should live in cardboard boxes and walk to work wearing rags that haven’t been washed in a month? Maybe you missed the memo, but buying cars and houses is one of the main reasons most people get jobs or start businesses. In fact, the captains of industry in other fields of endeavor routinely use their earnings to buy multiple cars and houses. Should we arrest all of them for these heinous acts (buying houses, not running heartless, soulless corporations)? I’m sorry, but one day this will be legal, and people will use the cannabis business to make money to buy houses and cars. Do you honestly think this is a bad thing? Our only concern should be to try to exert our influence in the fledgling industry to encourage growers and dispensary owners to run model businesses. This means, as business people, we do not try to hide our activities off the books, we do not evade taxes, we do not try to sidestep reasonable regulations on our industry, and those of us fortunate enough to strike it rich should feel a sort of noblesse oblige, a willingness to give back to the community which enriched us. We should try to turn the cannabis industry into a model that others can look to for guidance in how to run a good business. But we should not begrudge people the opportunity to make a profit at their own business.

  5. B on

    While you are right that the price of legal cannabis should be lower than current prices, the government should NOT set the prices for the final product. First of all, I don’t know where you got the idea that the government sets the price for booze and cigs. Do you live in a state where they have state run booze stores by chance? I don’t. In my state (NY), the only control gov’t has over prices is the taxes laid on the products. While this does heavily impact the final price – the idiots that run this state just set up the groundwork for a huge black market by drastically increasing cig taxes – it’s not the same as the government setting the price of the product.

    In fact, even the idea of an arbitrary dollar amount tax, such as the proposed $50/oz tax in Cali, is asinine. A tax should be assessed as a reasonable percentage of the final price of a product. In NY, we now pay an arbitrary tax of $4 or $5 per pack of cigs, but that arbitrary amount was arrived at by incremental increases in the percentage of tax paid on the product. This also provides a good example of why the $50/oz tax is absolutely ludicrous. The cig tax has become so onerous that I am already aware of at least one person in the week or so since the tax increased who is planning to start smuggling cigs from down south and selling them on the black market. This type of activity will only increase as taxes increase. If we allow the government to place such a heavy tax on cannabis, we will see a continuation of the black market. Once it’s legal and growers are allowed to take advantage of economies of scale without having to hide from authorities, the cost of producing cannabis will probably be a little bit higher than that of producing tobacco. The taxes and final prices should reflect this reality. If they do not, and final prices are similar to where they are now, a violent black market will continue to thrive.

    An aside to the anonymous below who believes the raids were justified because the dispensary owners bought cars and houses with their profit – WTF? Are you saying dispensary owners should live in cardboard boxes and walk to work wearing rags that haven’t been washed in a month? Maybe you missed the memo, but buying cars and houses is one of the main reasons most people get jobs or start businesses. In fact, the captains of industry in other fields of endeavor routinely use their earnings to buy multiple cars and houses. Should we arrest all of them for these heinous acts (buying houses, not running heartless, soulless corporations)? I’m sorry, but one day this will be legal, and people will use the cannabis business to make money to buy houses and cars. Do you honestly think this is a bad thing? Our only concern should be to try to exert our influence in the fledgling industry to encourage growers and dispensary owners to run model businesses. This means, as business people, we do not try to hide our activities off the books, we do not evade taxes, we do not try to sidestep reasonable regulations on our industry, and those of us fortunate enough to strike it rich should feel a sort of noblesse oblige, a willingness to give back to the community which enriched us. We should try to turn the cannabis industry into a model that others can look to for guidance in how to run a good business. But we should not begrudge people the opportunity to make a profit at their own business.

  6. thehighlife on

    why cant the feds get out of everybodys ass dam pill pusshers

  7. Anonymous on

    This is nothing more our goverment trying to sway the vote this Nov by busting these places, ligit or not it just makes the whole area of this subject of marijuana suspicious in the media when the news of the bust hits the air waves. I not really pissed about the bust I’m more pissed off at Mr. Obama using these tactics in this manor is really snicky. Leading up to the vote there will be more busts than ever quantied! They will try to stir the pot and tell old untruths like marijuana is cause crime, no prohibition does. I really thought when Obama was elected maybe the world would finally get a fare shake, but I was wrong we got shit on agian giving all that money to the banks and car companys pussin out on the health care bill and now wanting to give citizenship to everyone in the us that should not be here. Obama is giving america away one piece at a time. So from this day out I will be m’fucking him to he shows me different. Legal marijuna is the goverments worst nightmare no more being able to bust in your house for some weed and taking everything you own shooting you, your dog, giving away your kids and stealing your money. So rally around keep up the good work in cali everyone and vote yes show the goverment fcks what we want and leave us the fck alone. This could be the end of prohibition in the US once and for all when this passes in California. And as for you MR. Obama you should give back that Nobal Peice prize.

  8. Dave on

    Now a days, in the new economy, you have to buy your gear with credit not currency; the credit markets lost trillions! If they paid for their investment with credit they would be left alone. Bankers don’t want their borrowers locked up; it’s too difficult to collect!

  9. Anonymous on

    Oh…the dispensaries were using profits to buy houses and cars….okay dea i guess that’s cool.

  10. Anonymous on

    After all the spending, revamping healthcare, etc. I thought “well, at least he kept his promise to not waste tax money busting medical dispensaries”

    This is absolutely ridiculous. I’m pissed. Can’t wait till their generation dies out. I don’t understand this obsession with material wealth that fuels the war on drugs.

    We’re all here on this planet for a limited amount of time and then we die. Let people consume what they want!

  11. MOTFA on

    That is one thing I would like to know. The prices in these clubs. Are they really that high? Pardon the pun. And yes I would like to know what the quality of mj is in these places too. Medicinal mj is supposed to be in these stores to be accessible to patients and to me that means quality at a decent price. I could care less if it is grown outdoors just as long as it’s a good smoke.

    Yes if mj is legal in the future these places won’t be selling at high prices as I believe the prices should be set by the gov’t just like booze and smokes with the taxes going to worthy causes whatever they may be.

    You never know, someday the south will be supplying the north with all the weed it needs in winter and most hemp/weed farmers will do well enough i am sure. :-)

  12. castklearr on

    If you’ve ever had to buy from the SO Called Medical Clubs you’ve seen the crap they sell. That hydroponic headache crappy tasting purple that wouldn’t put my cat to sleep for $900 a ounce…..??

    My friends the more of these dealers without connections they close is OK by ME!.

    Its gonna be legal SOON IN CALIFORNIA so let the real farmers compete. Let the old farts from the sixties that smoked Colombian Gold….Panama Red….Afghany hash….Thai Stik…..fan out world wide so our big valley can fill with all the good shit on earth thats been held from us.

    Cannabis Fairs for FARMERS!!!!

    WE DON”T NEED THESE UNCOMPASSIONATE????? CLUBS…BOUGHT FROM NON FARMERS IN SOME BASEMENT GROW ……RIP OFFS!

    I WELCOME THE REAL FARMERS FIRST CHANCE AT AN OLD MARKET!