DEA Hits More CA Medical Marijuana Dispensariesby Phillip Smith, StoptheDrugWar.org
Oct. 19, 2011
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DEA agents conducted raids on two more California medical marijuana dispensaries Monday, according to local press reports. Monday's targets were the Medizen dispensary on Northgate Boulevard in Sacramento and the Central Valley Caregiver's Co-operative in nearby Stockton.
The raids are only the latest evidence of the Obama administration's ramped war on medical marijuana distribution in the Golden State. They come less than two weeks after the state's four US Attorneys announced they were aggressively going after not only dispensaries, but landlords and property owners. They also come less than a week after a DEA raid on Northstone Organic, a fully state- and county-law compliant medical marijuana grow and co-op in Mendocino County.
In Sacramento, a Medizen employee told local TV news that neither the dispensary nor its landlord had been the object of a threat letter from the feds, but that the business was forced to close without warning.
"I was supposed to open at 10 a.m. They got here at 7:30. I heard... they came in and basically took all our stuff, seized everything, took all our cash and product and stuff and that's basically it," said employee Mike Amarao."They just said they're shutting all the clubs down in Sacramento, that's all we heard."
An attorney representing several Sacramento dispensaries said that some were going out of business rather than weather the threat of federal harassment and prosecution. That's going to hurt the city, which instituted a dispensary tax in July. It was estimated that the tax would generate $2 million for city coffers, but without dispensaries that figure would become inoperative.
There are no details on the Stockton raid.
Meanwhile, in Southern California, Orange County NORML and Americans for Safe Access are gearing up for a Tuesday night protest in Lake Forest in Orange County, where eight dispensaries have been ordered to close by a landlord whose bank account has been seized by federal officials.
Activists there accuse local officials of calling in the feds to do their dirty work after their own anti-dispensary efforts were blocked in state court. The city had spent $600,000 in its failed legal efforts.
Federal agents Saturday handed out asset forfeiture notices to some of the dispensaries. As of Tuesday, five of the eight dispensaries had already closed, with the others reported to be closing by day's end.