More DOJ Med-Mari Busts

September 16, 2004

Jordan Smith, Austin Chronicle

After a marked lull in activity, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's Department of Justice is back in the swing of things, teaming with the Drug Enforcement Administration to continue their high-profile busts of California medical marijuana growers. 

In mid-August, federal law-enforcers busted two more California growers – Eddy Lepp's Medicinal Gardens and Multi-Denominational Church of Cannabis and Rastafari, and the Capitol Compassion Care dispensary outside Sacramento – even though both groups say they were operating in compliance with state law. 

Nonetheless, on Sept. 8 the DOJ moved forward with a plan to seize the CCC's assets. Agents seized 30,000 marijuana plants from Lepp's garden, which provided marijuana to hundreds of medi-pot patients, Lepp told the Drug Reform Coordination Network. Lepp is facing the possibility of two life sentences for his medi-mari growing enterprise.

In 1996, California voters approved the state's compassionate use act, which legalized medical marijuana in the state. The law has been upheld by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals – a ruling that the DOJ has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is scheduled to consider the case this fall. Still, San Francisco DEA agent Richard Meyer scoffed at the notion of legal medi-pot.

'There is no such thing as medical marijuana. ... That's a label invented by the marijuana lobby to further their agenda,' he said. 'They want to legalize it for all purposes, but since they know there is no support for that, they came up with the idea of so-called compassionate use.'

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