Medical Marijuana Advocates Demonstrate at Federal Building

September 07, 2004

, ABC - News 10

About 20 protesters demonstrated in front of the federal building in Sacramento this afternoon in support of a local medical marijuana store that was raided Friday by federal drug agents. The Capitol Compassionate Care Co-op is open for business again, but things have changed since Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided it. The owner, Richard Marino, says many customers are staying away and that he now has less marijuana to provide to patients with prescriptions.

On Friday, DEA agents entered the Roseville store with guns drawn. They briefly handcuffed Marino's son, then released him.

Marino says he doesn't just object to what agents did, but he questions the way they did it. 'We are a business,' he said. 'We have a business license, we carry insurance, we have doctors writing prescriptions to us. We're set up like a pharmacy. Knock on the door. Make a phone call. Don't come running in with guns drawn,' said Marino.

Agents gathered evidence they will turn over to the U.S. Attorney's office for possible prosecution. While state law allows for the sale of marijuana for medicinal use, federal law does not. 'This federal government can't seem to find anything better to do with their resources than chase down sick people and bust them for growing weed,' said one medical marijuana advocate who wanted to be identified only as 'Tim.'

Marino says as far as he knows, this is only the second time federal agents have raided one of the state's three dozen medicinal marijuana stores. He thinks it may have been a response to complaints by neighbors over marijuana he was growing legally in his backyard in Lincoln.

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