Demonstrators Rally Against Marijuana Dispensary Raids
July 06, 2006
People who depend on the marijuana for medical purposes said authorities have gone too far.
During the Thursday raids, more than a dozen people were arrested and the U.S. attorney indicted six more.
Two of the men indicted were arraigned at the federal courthouse, charged with cultivation and distribution of marijuana.
Sources told 10News 16 people would be facing similar charges in San Diego Superior Court Monday.
On Friday, a group of San Diegans walked up and down a street where a dispensary was raided.
The people protesting support the use of marijuana and some of them are customers at the dispensaries that sell marijuana.
Dion Markgraaff of Americans For Safe Access said the raids are going to hurt people who depend on the dispensaries for medical marijuana.
"The way they want to regulate is going in with guns to everybody's head and finding out if there's a crime," said Markgraaf.
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and U.S. Attorney Carol Lam said the raids were necessary because the dispensaries were doing more than just selling marijuana to seriously ill people
Dumanis pointed to undercover video taken by agents who went into doctors’ offices pretending to be seriously ill.
10News staffers did the same thing for their investigation and staffers were able to easily receive marijuana recommendations from doctors.
Markgraaf said, "Of course, there are people taking advantage of the law. There's people taking advantage of everything in society."
“These patients, these individuals find relief through cannabis. They find relief through a plant,” said attorney Mark Bluemel.
Bluemel said just because some people are taking advantage of the law, others who really need marijuana deserve a place where they can buy it.
"Not anyone can grow cannabis. It's complicated, and if someone has a major disease, they can't do it. They need to be able to have a legal source of obtaining this," said Bluemel.
Deputy District Attorney Damon Mosler had a different view on dispensaries.
“Patients are not being prosecuted. We're prosecuting wholesale distributors of marijuana. That's who we prosecute," said Mosler.