Medicinal pot grower raided, injured

March 14, 2006

, San Luis Obispo Tribune

Marijuana and weapons were confiscated by federal agents during a raid at the Sky Valley home of a medicinal pot grower who supplies the CannaHelp dispensary in Palm Desert.

No arrests were made during the Tuesday morning raid of Garry Silva's home but agents confiscated "guns and a quantity of marijuana," said Sarah Fenno Beers, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Silva said they took about 70 plants, about 30 of them only 3 inches high, as well as two shotguns, a deer rifle and a handgun.

Silva, who is a medical marijuana patient, supplied the CannaHelp collective with pot for medical marijuana patients. Since 1996, California law has allowed use of medical marijuana by approved patients.

But the California law conflicts with federal law. The U.S. Supreme Court last year made such a practice illegal under federal law.

"This is an extremely complicated and murky issue. There are a lot of gray areas," said Teresa Schilling, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general's office.

State law only permits growing by a caregiver of a person who uses the marijuana. According to state law, a qualified patient or caregiver may possess no more than 8 ounces of dried marijuana.

In addition, a qualified patient or primary caregiver also may maintain no more than six mature or 12 immature marijuana plants per qualified patient.

California's Proposition 215, which legalized marijuana for medical use, was approved in 1996.

CannaHelp owner Stacy Hochanadel said Silva was one of five clients who he helped set up home "grow rooms." Silva said he wasn't making any money from the marijuana he grew.

"It's a compassionate thing to do and it guarantees me my own medicine," he said.

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