Berkeley medical pot club raided
July 30, 2007
Carolyn Jones, San Francisco Chronicle
The Los Angeles Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency seized the assets of a Berkeley marijuana club Tuesday, following a raid of its sister club in Los Angeles.
The Berkeley Patients Group, one of three medical marijuana clubs in Berkeley, serves about 3,000 people in the East Bay. Medical marijuana is against federal law but California, under Proposition 215, allows dispensaries to operate.
"It's completely scandalous," said Becky DeKeuster, Berkeley Patients Group community liaison. "But we're determined to stay open and assist our patients in any way we can."
The Berkeley club had about $10,000 to $15,000 in its bank account, DeKeuster said. Employees offered to work without pay until the matter is resolved.
The Berkeley club's sister organization, California Patients Group, was raided last week in Los Angeles. Agents seized plants and handcuffed employees and patients but no one was arrested, DeKeuster said.
About 75 backers of the Berkeley club rallied at Tuesday's Berkeley City Council meeting, asking that the council declare Berkeley a sanctuary for medical marijuana dispensaries. The council agreed to hold a hearing on the issue.
"This is really affecting individuals and families who rely on marijuana to treat diseases and side effects," said Berkeley spokeswoman Mary Kay Clunies-Ross. "We're definitely going to take a look at it."