DEA Raids San Diego Medical Marijuana Dispensaries; Operators Arrested

July 06, 2006

SAN DIEGO-- Federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) today raided as many as 13 San Diego-area medical marijuana dispensaries and arrested at least two of the dispensary operators.

 

“The DEA continues to waste valuable resources on attacking medical marijuana patients,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, the leading national medical marijuana advocacy group. “The vast majority of Americans believe the sick and suffering should have legal access to marijuana if they are helped by it.”

 

Today’s DEA action in San Diego follows raids on 13 area dispensaries last December. All of these dispensaries were also targets of the December raids. The San Diego Union Tribune is this evening reporting that the District Attorney’s office is also filing state charges, though the indictments are federal. The distinction affects whether those charged will be able to argue their activities are protected under the state law that makes legal the use and possession of medical marijuana.

“In matters of health, the city has an obligation to strive to meet the needs of patients in its community,” said Kris Hermes, ASA legal director. “If the City of San Diego has received complaints about patients and their providers there are many options of dealing with this situation that do not include calling in the DEA. The city should listen to their constituents on both sides of this issue who are urging dispensary regulations.” 

The raids come exactly one week after the defeat of a Congressional amendment that would have prevented the DEA from expending resources on the arrest and prosecution of medical marijuana patients and providers in states such as California that allow it. The bipartisan amendment, known as Hinchey-Rohrabacher, was a modification of the funding measure for the DEA. It garnered 163 votes in the House of Representatives last Thursday, June 29.

Americans for Safe Access is the nation’s largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.

For more information or comments, contact ASA at (510) 872-7822.

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