One week after President Barack Obama's top law enforcement official seemed to indicate the feds would no longer raid pot clubs, DEA agents busted a medical marijuana facility in San Francisco Wednesday night.
As agents carried large plastic containers of marijuana plants out of Emmalyn's California Cannabis Clinic at 1597 Howard Street, a small crowd of protesters formed a gauntlet outside the door, booing the agents and chanting, "our medicine is marijuana … listen to Obama!"
DEA spokeswoman Casey McEnry told CBS 5 the documents regarding the raid are sealed, so the DEA was not able to give any details.
"Based on our investigation we believe there are not only violations of federal law, but state law as well," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams in a written statement.
Emmalyn's has a provisional permit from the city, according to Eileen Shields, spokesperson for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, which she said is an indication the club is in good standing with city laws.
Brendan Hallanin, the pot club's attorney, said Emmalyn's is in compliance with state and local laws.
"They are well-respected and have a good reputation in the medical marijuana community," said Hallanin, who added the business has never been raided in its five year existence.
Hallanin said the DEA would not tell him why the club was being busted.
"They're going to have a huge fight on their hands if they're arbitrarily busting clubs that are in compliance with state and local laws," said Hallanin.
Kris Hermes, spokesperson for Americans for Safe Access, a national advocacy group for medical marijuana issues, wants the attorney general to explain the DEA's actions.
"We're shocked that after the Attorney General has made repeated statements that raids on California medical cannibis dispensaries would be suspended that we are seeing a continuation of that policy," said Hermes.
SSDP's Micah Daigle was on the scene and reported that all the local press were there. (Protesters were there as well.) Micah also reported that the DEA agents went in with a sledgehammer and crobar, so they certainly weren't there to talk.
Later, DEA agents carried out tubs of marijuana and loaded it into a van.
Note: Keep in mind that, if the dispensary was violating state law, or violating other federal laws, then this would not theoretically be any kind of repudiation of Holder's clear position to let state laws in medical marijuana occur without DEA interference.
Thanks to Tom Angell in comments: Quote from the DEA"The documents relating to today's enforcement operation remain under court seal. Based on our investigation we believe there are not only violations of federal law, but state law as well. As of now we are prohibited from releasing further details of the case. Items of evidentiary value were seized and no arrests have been made. The investigation is currently ongoing," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams in a written statement.
There's also some video at that link.
Regardless of whether the dispensary was violating state law, this is extremely stupid.
Having federal agents (all marked "DEA" and "Federal Agent") bust a dispensary is politically tone-deaf. A smart person in the Justice Department right now would say, regardless of the potential laws being broken, "if it's a dispensary, send only the state cops. We don't want people seeing the DEA logo at a dispensary."
However, we didn't even see any state or local cops.
I mean, really. Are the state cops that incompetent, that they can't bust a dispensary by themselves if state laws are being broken?Someone needs to be asking the state police why they are perceived as so incompetent by the feds that they're unable to enforce their own laws. source
SAN FRANCISCO—A medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco that gave out free marijuana to poor people is mostly empty after a raid by federal agents.
Emmalyn's had been providing free marijuana to the poor on Wednesdays.
The dispensary had been operating with a temporary permit issued by the Department of Public Health.
"There is no indication that the dispensary was in violation of state law," says Kris Hermes, a spokesman for Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a medical-pot advocacy group in California. He points out the City of San Francisco issued the club a provisional permit to operate. It has been in business, apparently in compliance with state law, since 2006. California law says that patients must have an authorization from their physician to possess marijuana, and recent rules say dispensaries must operate as not-for-profit collectives.
The bust suggests that either the DEA is sidestepping the Obama Administration, or the Obama Administration itself is establishing a new interpretation of California law.
"If there is any indication that these facilities have been in violation of state law, local law enforcement or state law enforcement should be determining whether a violation has taken place," Hermes says. Furthermore, he points out, "Violations of state law are never going to [be prosecuted] in federal court."
A couple hours ago, ASA reportedly contacted the San Francisco Police Department, which said it had no part in the raid. more
Raw footage of DEA Raid on Medical Marijuana Dispensary in San Francisco, California on March 25, 2009.
SF Cannabis Clubs
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