Drug Enforcement Administration agents raid 11 Los Angeles-area medical marijuana clinics, seizing “several thousand pounds of dried marijuana” and money. No arrests made yet. Video (soon to be) on YouTube.
The Associated Press, January 18, 2007
LOS ANGELES – Federal drug agents raided nearly a dozen medical marijuana clinics in California, seizing several thousand pounds of processed marijuana, along with weapons and money, authorities said.
Several people were detained, although no arrests were made after five dispensaries in West Hollywood and six others in Venice, Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley were searched Wednesday, said Sarah Pullen, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The raids highlighted a conflict between a California state law and the federal drug agency.
California voters in 1996 approved the Compassionate Use Act, which makes marijuana available by prescription for medicinal uses. The DEA, which does not recognize California laws legalizing medical marijuana use, has recently increased its enforcement.
Pullen declined to provide details of the latest investigation, saying the search warrants remained under seal.
“But obviously we are looking for marijuana and other illegal drugs, marijuana edibles and evidence of ongoing criminal activity and anything from paperwork to documents ? you name it,” Pullen said.
City officials in West Hollywood said they were surprised by the action, learning of the raid as it was happening. City spokeswoman Helen Goss said West Hollywood has a “long-standing commitment” to the use of medical marijuana for people suffering from illnesses like HIV and AIDS.
Agents in bulletproof vests, gloves and face masks left a West Hollywood storefront with boxes and trash bags filled, as about 50 protesters booed and shouted “states’ rights.”
At one dispensary, The Farmacy on Santa Monica Boulevard, amateur videographers and others mobbed officers filling three cars with evidence.
“Today’s enforcement operations show that these establishments are nothing more than drug-trafficking organizations bringing criminal activities to our neighborhoods and drugs near our children and schools,” said Ralph W. Partridge, head of the DEA in Los Angeles.
Press Release Source: City of West Hollywood
City of West Hollywood Officials Decry DEA Raids on Five Marijuana Dispensaries
Wednesday January 17, 2007
WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (BUSINESS WIRE) – City of West Hollywood officials reacted swiftly today to news that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had raided and shut down five medicinal marijuana dispensaries located in West Hollywood.
“The City of West Hollywood has had a long-standing commitment to the compassionate use of medical marijuana for those persons who are facing catastrophic illnesses,” said City Manager Paul Arevalo.
The DEA’s enforcement of federal drug laws against the dispensaries conflicts with Proposition 215, a ballot measure approved by the California voters in 1996 decriminalizing the use of medical marijuana.
The following five marijuana dispensaries located in West Hollywood were raided by the DEA today:
7828 Santa Monica – Alternative Herbal Health
7825 Santa Monica – Medical Marijuana Pharmacy
7901 Santa Monica – West Hollywood Caregivers
8464 Santa Monica – California Cannabis Pharmacy
8921 Sunset – West Hollywood Center for Compassionate Healing
Just last night the West Hollywood City Council introduced an
ordinance establishing permanent regulations to mitigate the impacts of medical marijuana dispensaries, following a two-year moratorium.
“The DEA raids came as a complete surprise to the City,” said
Arevalo. “It is regrettable that the federal, state and local governments cannot work together on this issue.”
The City of West Hollywood has been a long-standing supporter of the use of marijuana that is prescribed, dispensed and used for medicinal purposes. West Hollywood is home to a disproportionately large percentage of seniors afflicted with a variety of chronic illnesses, and people with HIV and AIDS, for which medicinal marijuana diminishes suffering.
Here are comments regarding today’s DEA action from two West
Hollywood City Councilmembers:
“The state of California voted to allow marijuana for medical
purposes,” says West Hollywood City Councilmember Abbe Land. “The City of West Hollywood along with other cities across the state have established regulations to govern the dispensing of medical marijuana, so that people whose lives depend on this drug can be assured of safe access to their medicine. The DEA should spend their time going after dispensaries that are not operating in accordance with local ordinances, as well as unscrupulous doctors who write illegitimate prescriptions,” she continued.
“Today’s actions again demonstrate the skewed priorities of the Bush administration and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration,” says West Hollywood City Councilmember Jeffrey Prang. “Providing safe access to medical marijuana for those living with serious and often painful illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, cancer and other terminal diseases is something this City supports. We have worked closely with our community to insure these establishments operate safely and comply with the spirit of Proposition 215 adopted by the voters of California,” he continued.
City of West Hollywood
Fax: 323-848 6561
Public Information Officer
E-mail: [email protected]
Helen J. Goss, Esq.
Director, Public Information and Prosecution Services