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Palm Desert, CA – Despite assertions from federal officials that they would not be going after medical marijuana patients or small cooperatives, DEA agents, along with Riverside County Sheriff's officers, this morning raided a small medical marijuana collective cultivation outside of Palm Desert that had recently been pictured in the press, injuring a 53 year old medical marijuana patient.
When the DEA knocked on the door, Gary Silva went to let them in. As he was unlocking the door, DEA agents proceeded to kick it in, dislocating Mr. Silva's shoulder, cracking a bone, and causing lacerations to his face.
"Everything I was doing was within California law. I grew for myself and a few other patients, and donated the excess to a nearby dispensing collective. There was no need for our California sheriffs to call in federal agents to injure me and harass my family," said Mr Silva after his release from the hospital for treatment of his injuries. Mr. Silva cultivates and uses medical marijuana for degenerative disk disease and nerve damage.
Agents confiscated less than 80 plants and dry medicine, which were grown for several patient collective members. Patient records and equipment were seized as well. No arrests were made. DEA agents repeatedly told Gary that they would not be arresting him, and that he would only be arrested if he grew again.
"This sounds like pure harassment by the DEA and by a local sheriff that isn't happy to uphold state law," noted Rebecca Saltzman, Americans for Safe Access Field Director. "It was just a matter of time before a patient would be injured from a federal raid, and if this hostility by the DEA continues, it's going to happen again."
Some members of Congress are also questioning the federal actions taken to prosecute medical marijuana patients. By the request of Americans for Safe Access,Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) this week led a group of lawmakers in calling for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation of how much money the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) spent each year over the past decade to enforce federal medical marijuana laws. (The request may be viewed at http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3142
Medical cannabis supporters plan to rally in opposition to this latest DEA raid and violent attack on a California-legal medical marijuana patient at on Thursday, March 16th in front of local federal buildings and DEA offices. So far, protests are planned in Austin, TX; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Los Angeles, CA; Missoula, MT; Riverside, CA; San Francisco, CA; and Washington, DC. Please check our web site www.safeaccessnow.org or call the ASA office (510) 251-1856 for location updates and other information.
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A national coalition of 25,000 patients, doctors and advocates, Americans for Safe Access is the largest organization working solely on medical marijuana. To learn more, see www.SafeAccessNow.org)