Federal Agents Arrest Medical Marijuana Doctor

August 18, 2005

, KXTV - News 10 (Sacramento)

A week and a half after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the federal government can block doctors from prescribing marijuana for medical use, drug agents arrested a doctor from Cool. Dr. Marion Fry, 48, and her husband Dale Schafer, 50, were arrested by agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Western El Dorado County Narcotics Enforcement Task Force Wednesday morning. Later in the day, the U.S. Attorney announced a federal grand jury has indicted the couple on marijuana-related charges.

Fry and Schafer each face one count of conspiracy to distribute at least 100 marijuana plants and one count of manufacturing at least 100 marijuana plants.

Both charges are felonies. If convicted, Fry and Schafer could be sentenced to five to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $2 million or both.

Fry and Schafer appeared in federal court, entered not guilty pleas and were released on $25,000 bail each. The couple, who are also medicinal marijuana patients, agreed to not use cannibis as a term of their release.

Speaking to News10 in front of the courthouse, Fry said the charges wouldn't stop her from writing prescriptions for marijuana for patients. "I intend to generate money and I intend to protect my family and although those things are done for my business, which is the business of medical marijuana," she said. "I've been doing it for six years and I don't intend to quit."

Federal agents told News10 it was merely a coincidence the couple's arrest followed the Supreme COurt ruling.

It is not the first time Fry's practice has been raided. She said that in 2001 federal agents raided her office, seized at least 100 marijuana plants, and confiscating medical files of 6,000 patients. No charges were filed against her.

Fry said she found relief with marijuana after undergoing a mastectomy and chemotherapy for cancer.

After the June 6 ruling, Fry told News10 she was not surprised by the Supreme Court's decision. "[The] ruling means nothing," she said. "The federal government said they didn't approve before, and they just said they don't approve again."

In a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court ruled the Bush administration could block the cultivation of marijuana for personal use or medicinal use because such use has broader social and financial implications. Justices suggested medical marijuana advocates try to have the law changed in Congress rather than fight the constitutionality of existing law.

California voters passed the state's medical marijuana law in 1996. Under the law, people with medical conditions were allowed to grow or obtain marijuana for personal consumption, so long as they had a doctor's written or oral recommendation.

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