Raid Preparedness ASA's Emergency Raid Response Campaign

This document is a tool for preparing for a law enforcement raid. Not every bullet point applies to every provider. Think of this as a guide to having an internal conversation with partners, managers, and staff - as opposed to a simple checklist. To sign up for raid alerts as a providor, please visit the ASA Raid Center.

OPERATIONAL PREPARATION

When providing medical cannabis, there are certain principals and methods of operation that should be considered:

  • Organize & protect patient, doctor, and financial data - use encryption software and off-site storage whenever possible (or in accordance with state and local laws)
  • Establish and maintain your center in a legal and professional manner - pay your taxes, obey zoning laws, comply with all labor laws, etc. Failure to do so can complicate your legal situation following a raid.
  • Minimize exposure by keeping inventory manageable and discussing financial obligations with any debtors or investors in advance.
  • Label all medical products and related items "for medical use only"
  • Have off-site location to store backup copies of patient and financial data, maybe with your lawyer
  • Avoid storing any illicit drugs, weapons, pornography, or unauthorized persons on- site
  • Monitor the area around centers for signs of surveillance; approach people who are suspicious. Get license plate numbers and record information about the contact
  • Consider having an alternative location to continue services for qualified patients- churches, etc
  • Be prepared to forward patients to centers that are still open

LOGISTICAL PREPARATION

In order to prepare for a raid by local or federal law enforcement, consider the following logistical items:

  • Fill out ASA's Raid Support form and send it to ASA's Oakland office
  • Set up a collective phone tree of people to notify such as you lawyer, PR people, grassroots coordinators, other phone trees and important contacts
  • Have backup, off-site phone number for patients and supporters to call (maybe an 800#)
  • Set up call forwarding to forward calls from a raided center to an active member
  • Develop several methods of communication for during a raid (cell and regular phones)
  • Have cameras and/or video cameras available to document a raid from inside and on the outside. Use a remote storage device to prevent the DEA from taking your tapes
  • Prepare email, phone and fax blast lists to contact supporters immediately: keep the data in a backup location
  • Let other people in your life know what you are doing and that you may be at risk.
  • Make plans for child, pet, and plant care. Have a general plan on how to manage your personal affairs if you are arrested.

LEGAL PREPARATION

In preparing for a raid, there are also legal arrangements to consider that may help mitigate the harm:

  • Secure the services of or retain one or more lawyers
  • Plan for bail/bond
  • Plan a legal defense fund
  • Plan to support people who get arrested and help get people out
  • Plan for being released on your own recognizance; get attorney-client data sheets filled for all employees
  • Have more than one attorney on notice
  • If you are arrested, be prepared to stay in jail while details of your bail are worked out. It may take a couple of days to reduce it to a manageable amount and secure your release.

ACTION PLAN

Since this issue is very political, it is important to consider the following steps to activate supporters to take action:

  • Get ready to mobilize your supporters fast
  • Develop and train patient and collective spokespeople
  • Distribute a flyer now for patients of "what to do if a center is raided"
  • Attend direct action, legal patient spokesperson, and legal observation trainings
  • Develop raid scenarios for your dispensary and train staff to enact them
  • Contact city council members to find support and have them primed to respond
  • Develop quick notification techniques to let all employees know if a raid is underway, especially people in remote areas of a center
  • Develop sister alliances with likeminded organizations, companies, and individuals
  • Encourage public support for medical cannabis and providers associations
  • Learn the magic words "I choose to remain silent and want to see my lawyer," and teach your staff, patients, roommates, etc.
  • Develop a media plan
  • Prepare an action list of people in places of influence to contact in case of a raid
  • Develop celebrity and high profile spokespeople
  • Develop non-violence guidelines
  • Decide goal of direct action & decide what the action is
  • Designate spokespeople, press liaison, police liaison, legal observers, vibes watchers, and outside observers
  • Make protest signs and banners and store offsite
  • Be politically active in advance to keep our issue a priority in the public mind
  • Lobby your elected and appointed officials at the local, state and national levels
  • Get the states and cities that have medical cannabis laws to front and support our efforts
  • Educate people about jury nullification and the need to not convict for medical cannabis

Considerations for Providers During a Raid INSIDE THE FACILITY

In the event of a raid by law enforcement, there are considerations for persons inside a facility that is being raided:

  • Execute appropriate response based on your raid scenarios worked out in advance
  • Calm patients and anyone else involved in the raid
  • Do not consent to a search, even in the case of a legal search warrant. Do not resist a search, after stating your lack of consent, stand aside and maintain your right to remain silent.
  • Say the magic words "I choose to remain silent. I want to see my lawyer," and do not speak or give information after invoking these rights.
  • Quickly get all the patients inside to understand that they should only say the magic words and stick to them.
  • Call the person at the head of your phone tree to begin the outside mobilization. Notify Americans for Safe Access immediately
  • Designate a spokesperson to uphold the magic words and communicate with officers in case of emergency
  • Designate a legal observers and vibes watchers inside to manage people stuck inside
  • Listen to what the police say to discover information or clues to additional plans
  • Get lawyers inside to help if possible

OUTSIDE THE FACILITY

In the event of a raid by law enforcement, there are considerations for persons outside a facility that is being raided:

  • Call all the lawyers
  • Make sure Americans for Safe Access is notified to begin support role using our toll free hotline: (888) 929-4367
  • Call press people and activate media plan
  • Call patient spokespeople to come to the scene
  • Further activate phone tree
  • Coordinate a vigil to support the raided center
  • Photograph the raid and make photos immediately available to out-of-town press and supporters
  • Contact city council and other key spokespeople to respond
  • Have a human on hand to answer off-site emergency response phones
  • Update message on all voice mail/ answering machines to reflect current response plans
  • Find out which medical cannabis providers and individuals were targeted and find out who is still open for patients
  • Stop patients and people from accidentally wandering into a raid or commenting to the police

Considerations for Providers AFTER A RAID

LOGISTICAL

After a raid has occurred, there are certain logistical steps to consider:

  • Coordinate an activist/supporter meeting the next night to plan the ongoing campaign
  • Coordinate long-term plan for public support and coordination
  • Continue implementing media plan
  • Make a flyer to update people on what is happening
  • Distribute a list of people to target for complaints about a raid
  • Activate communications network to get support
  • Contact city council, politicians, and celebrities to maintain their support
  • Utilize patients and citizen spokespeople
  • Organize ongoing and/or overnight vigils
  • Re-open or refer patients to ongoing services
  • Calm and reassure patients and suppliers

LEGAL

After a raid has occurred, there are certain legal steps to consider:

  • Get word out to other providers about raid specifics so they can be better prepared
  • Get people out of jail and offer jail support to those inside
  • Plan Court support
  • Develop long term legal plan and response to case(s)
  • Work on defense fund

Raid Prep Information (PDF)