Eleven San Diego Area Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Raided; Six Arrested

July 05, 2006

, Fox 6 News (San Diego)

Eleven marijuana dispensaries in the San Diego area were raided today in connection with federal indictments charging six people with illegally selling pot, state and federal authorities said. Search warrants were executed at 11 locations in San Diego County, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Crowley.

The raids were conducted by law enforcement agents and officers from the San Diego Police Department, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the multi-agency Narcotics Task Force, said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

The joint investigation began last September, after numerous complaints were lodged by nearby residents in the neighborhoods where the people were illegally selling marijuana under the guise of operating medical marijuana dispensaries, authorities said.

State charges will be filed Friday.

Authorities said the defendants were selling pot under the guise of providing "medical marijuana."

Under Proposition 215 in California, seriously ill patients can get small amounts of marijuana legally if they have the approval of a licensed physician. The sale, possession or distribution of marijuana is illegal under federal law.

"These defendants were not caregivers, and they did not run medical dispensaries," said U.S. Attorney Carol Lam. "These defendants are drug traffickers who were illegally selling marijuana in the middle of our commercial districts."

A medical marijuana advocacy group released a statement tonight saying authorities were overreacting and harming those in need of the herb for medical reasons.

"The DEA continues to waste valuable resources on attacking medical marijuana patients," said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access. "The vast majority of Americans believe the sick and suffering should have legal access to marijuana if they are helped by it."

Thirteen area dispensaries also were raided in December, according to ASA.



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