Oakland Medical Pot Protest

July 13, 2004

Bay City News Service, SF Gate

Medical marijuana activists planted marijuana outside California Highway Patrol offices in Oakland on Tuesday to protest a recent incident in which officers recently raided a cannabis garden that organizers say was legal.

Don Duncan, the director of the Berkeley Patients Group Inc., said, 'We're here today to call on the CHP to stop arresting people and bringing in the federal Drug Enforcement Administration on medical marijuana cases.

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Speaking at a rally attended by about 30 activists, Angel McClary Raich, a medical marijuana advocate whose lawsuit against the federal government on the issue will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, said, 'I'm very, very outraged that the CHP called in the DEA and didn't do any investigation before calling them in.''

Duncan and Raich were referring to a June 30 incident in which the CHP says that a routine traffic stop in Oakland that led them to a nearby warehouse where nearly 4,000 marijuana plants were discovered.

Four people were arrested on federal drug charges and face minimum prison sentences of 10 years along with $4 million in fines.

Dale Gieringer of California NORML said, 'The CHP is out of control'' and alleged that the agency didn't follow proper procedures, but CHP spokesman Sgt. Wayne Ziese said by phone that the officers followed procedures by the book.

Ziese said that after the traffic stop was made, CHP officers first consulted with Oakland police but Oakland police then told them to bring in the DEA.

Ziese said CHP investigators believed that the marijuana at the warehouse wasn't for medicinal use but instead was part of a criminal enterprise.

Ziese said CHP officials likely would remove the marijuana plants that activists planted.



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