Seemingly in a daze, James Anderson wandered through the ruins of his medical marijuana garden on Old Stage Road Wednesday, a day after federal agents searched his home and hauled away his crop in dump trucks.
Anderson, 25, is part of a group of medical marijuana providers on Old Stage Road who share a plot of land to grow for their respective patients. “We are growing within our limits,” Anderson said. “Some of us are under.”
According to Anderson, Drug Enforcement Administration agents, U.S. marshals and an assortment of local police officers pulled onto his property at 9 a.m. Tuesday to serve a search warrant.
The agents handcuffed Anderson and Ashley Morgan, 25, who lives on the property. They then searched the home, seizing Anderson’s shotguns and his iPod, among other items.
Agents busted through doors on other properties on the patch of land as well, Anderson said.
The DEA refused to comment on the raid when contacted Wednesday. An official with the U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed a raid occurred but wouldn’t elaborate.
Anderson’s landlord, Keith Rogers, spent Wednesday repairing the damaged doors. He pointed to a large hole in his front door made by a battering ram used to breach doors.
“Everyone on this property, as far as I know, is within the law,” Rogers said. “When they do have excess marijuana, they burn it. I keep a close eye on this garden and don’t want anyone breaking the law here.”
The agents left Anderson and Morgan handcuffed for hours while they uprooted all of the plants on the property, Anderson said.
“They took everything,” he said. “We don’t know what to do now. We have patients that need this medicine.”
Anderson showed a copy of the search-and-seizure warrant the agents left. It showed aerial photographs of the property and detailed what the authorities would seize while serving the warrant.
Anderson said he realizes that federal law enforcement does not recognize medical marijuana laws. “We were legal within the state laws, but the feds trump any state law,” Anderson said.
As the raid was under way, Anderson said, he saw one officer kneel down to tie a boot lace and accidently discharge his handgun into the ground near Rogers’ workshop.
“So they must have had the safeties off their guns,” Anderson said. “There was no need for that. We weren’t going to shoot at any cops.”
Anderson later dug up the bullet and keeps it in a plastic bag inside his house.
Morgan said many of their patients made the trip to the property during and after the raid.
“They kept asking how they were going to get their medicine,” Morgan said. “There are over 70 patients who will be affected by this.”
Among their patients are Daniel and Kathy Zasada of Medford.
“What happened out there wasn’t right at all,” Daniel Zasada said. “(Anderson) has always been strict about the law, as far as we know. We have kids and jobs. We wouldn’t want to be around someone who was breaking the law.”
Zasada said he and his wife need medical marijuana for back and joint pain, among other ailments.
Anderson, who sipped a Rolling Rock beer as he assessed the damage to his home and garden, said he was under the impression that the Obama administration was not prosecuting medical marijuana cases. In 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder suggested that federal authorities would not use resources to prosecute medical marijuana providers.
However, the U.S. Department of Justice has hardened its stance in recent months and the DEA has raided several dispensaries since spring, according to The Associated Press.
Anderson said no one who grows on the Old Stage Road property has been charged with a crime, but agents on the scene told them charges were possible.
“All we can do is wait and see what happens,” Anderson said.
– Article originally from Mail Tribune.