Medical Marijuana Outlawed in Los Angeles?

August 13, 2007

City News Service, KABC TV (Los Angeles)

Los Angeles police officers have been present for some U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration raids on medical marijuana facilities, but only to help implement a search warrant or provide security, the Police Commission was told today.

Marijuana is considered an illegal substance by the federal government. However, state law allows medical cannabis to be used by patients with permission by their physicians.

Questions were raised last month after a video on the YouTube Web site appeared to show an LAPD detective, wearing DEA raid gear, participating in a bust in the Hollywood area. The department is investigating the matter.

At the same time, City Councilman Dennis Zine asked the DEA to stop its raids while the city attempts to regulate the facilities.

The LAPD is supportive of medicinal marijuana and does not participate in the federal agency's marijuana investigations, said LAPD Cmdr. David Doan.

"(DEA officials) do ask for assistance from other agencies in order to have enough manpower present to be able to safely execute those warrants," Doan said. "Certainly there have been uniform resources of the Los Angeles Police Department present to keep the peace at some of those locations."

"The raids that we have participated in with DEA all have been as a result of federally-issued or state-issued search warrants. We have not gone on any of those activities, that I'm aware of, that did not have a warrant previously signed by a magistrate, primarily at the federal level."

A city ordinance that temporarily prohibits new medical marijuana dispensaries from opening in Los Angeles will go into effect on Sept. 14.

The Los Angeles City Council is expected to hear a similar report on medical marijuana dispensaries tomorrow.



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