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Feature: DEA Raids Ten Los Angeles Dispensaries Same Day City Council Asks It To Butt Out

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #495)
Politics & Advocacy

In what appears to be the latest move in an ever-escalating campaign of attacks against California medical marijuana dispensaries, the DEA Wednesday raided 10 Los Angeles-area dispensaries, seizing marijuana, marijuana products, cash, and two guns. The raids came the same day the Los Angeles City Council introduced an ordinance to regulate dispensaries in the city and approved a resolution calling on federal authorities to quit prosecuting medical marijuana providers operating legally under California law.

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The raids did not go unchallenged, either by local officials or by activists. When DEA agents raided the Los Angeles Patients and Caregivers Group (LAPCG) on Santa Monica Boulevard, they were met by more than a hundred protestors, who blocked access to the building and surrounded DEA vehicles to prevent raiders taking away people at the dispensary. Five people were arrested in that incident.

A DEA spokesperson in Washington told the Chronicle five arrests were made during the raids, but it appears those arrests were of people engaging in civil disobedience to protest the raids -- not dispensary owners or employees.

"Some people were arrested for civil disobedience after barricading the facility itself because federal agents were detaining people inside," said Kris Hermes, communications director for Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the medical marijuana defense group whose rapid response network brings out protestors in response to such raids. "We had at least a couple of hundred people very agitated by what the DEA was doing, and some of them decided to obstruct the agents. The DEA was prevented from being able to process those inside and therefore released them," he said.

City officials who that same day had introduced an ordinance calling for a moratorium on new dispensaries in the city while it drafts regulations governing their operation, but who also called on the DEA to quit prosecuting medical marijuana providers, also reacted angrily. City Councilman Dennis Zine, who authored the letter, called the agency "bullies" at a pre-scheduled news conference that took place as the raids were ongoing.

"I am greatly disturbed that the Drug Enforcement Administration would initiate an enforcement action against medical marijuana facilities in the city of Los Angeles during a news conference regarding City Council support of an interim control ordinance to regulate all facilities within the city," Zine said. "This action by the DEA is contrary to the vote of Californians who overwhelmingly voted to support medicinal marijuana use by those facing serious and life-threatening illnesses," he said. "The DEA needs to focus their attention and enforcement action on the illegal drug dealers who are terrorizing communities in Los Angeles."

Despite the angry protests of patients, activists and elected officials, the DEA was unmoved. "The DEA is required to enforce the Controlled Substances Act," replied tight-lipped spokesperson Rogene Waite when asked about the opposition the raids are engendering. "There has been no change in our policy," she said when asked if the raids signaled a new offensive.

But despite the DEA's protestations, a ramping up of DEA activity directed at dispensaries seems evident. Dozens of dispensaries have been raided this year, including 11 in Los Angeles in January. Hundreds of medical marijuana cases are now pending in the federal courts in California. Last week, the DEA and the Justice Department announced the indictments of four dispensary operators, two in the Los Angeles area, one in San Luis Obispo, and one in Bakersfield. And earlier this month, the DEA and the Justice Department unveiled a new tactic in their war on medical marijuana: Federal authorities in Los Angeles sent a letter to dozens of dispensary landlords warning them they faced seizure of their property or even criminal charges if they continued to rent to the dispensaries.

"The DEA appears to be intensifying its campaign against medical marijuana," said ASA's Hermes. "There are not only the increased raids here in Los Angeles, but also the threats to property owners who choose to rent to medical marijuana providers. This is tantamount to intimidation, and it's a last-ditch effort by the federal government to undermine the state's medical marijuana law."

"It is an escalation, and it's very frightening," said Bruce Mirken, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "They can't stop medical marijuana's momentum because truth, common sense, and decency are on our side, but in the meantime they can cause a lot of suffering for a lot of people."

For California NORML head Dale Gieringer, the raids are like the final twitches of a dying dinosaur's tail. "It's a rear-guard action by the DEA," he said. "They went after the heart of responsible medical cannabis activism by going after the California Patients and Caregivers group. That's where people met to deal responsibly with the dispensary issue. This is a slap in the face to Los Angeles, and I think people there are going to end up being as angry as they already are in Northern California," he predicted.

Still, said Gieringer, the raids won't stop the dispensaries. "There are already 400 of them across the state, maybe more, who knows?" he said. "If the DEA is trying to wipe out the dispensaries, they are now several years too late."

The battle between the federal drug enforcers and the people, patients, and elected officials of California over medical marijuana continues. Congress could have taken the wind out of the DEA's sails by passing the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, which would have cut off federal funding for the raids, but it chose not to Wednesday night, just hours after the latest raids took place. That means, at least for now, it's up to the people of California to protect themselves.

Medical marijuana supporters and fellow activists will be taking steps to do just that on Friday. ASA has called for demonstrations against the raids to occur across the state Friday morning. Civil disobedience has already broken out on Santa Monica Boulevard. Maybe there will be more to come.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

How does this happen. Most of us would be out of a job, if we were to go against the people that employ us. That is exaclty what the DEA agents have done in LA! Then again, they could all see this as their next step to the unemployment line. With a more sensible public health approach to the drug problem, with something that worked (instead of a failed "drug war"), the need for law enforcement would be cut, drastically, in the arena of that, same, "drug war". It is a war against the people, and THE PEOPLE IS US!!

Fri, 07/27/2007 - 10:07am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Has the Talibomb infiltrated America?

With the health care crisis and the gasoline prices “we the
people” need to look at if the Talibomb hasn’t affected our economy. The Arabs have approximately one trillion dollars for investment, thanks in part to the high gas prices that we pay. While the American farmer could bring us $0.55 a gallon gas, if grown from hemp yet we wage a drug war against the people, as they criminalize us for barring arms against their harms. Criminalizing the people for using the first page of the Christian
bible, “the power over the plants and animals”. The medical monopoly with its foreign owned pharmaceutical companies has led us to believe that its just the immoral movie stars that get hooked to their drugs, or the undesirables who end up locked away in their prisons for what they claim they need. That certain business just can’t seem to profit in America, as the small business of the 1960s all seem to have shut down because of bad management or they just decide to join the 700 club and gave up drinking and smoking and all that other so called immoral behavior. Time magazine points out the true science of weed is being subverted, Rolling Stones magazine points out their drug war is totally illogical until you realize that they control the crave.
From their nicotine patch to their Parkinson drug they ignore the
People voice from California to Columbia Mo. and have tried to justify attacking cancer and scoliosis patience for their genetic, neurological, historical or ancestral rights. They cant even keep drugs out of their prisons or tell a geese brain yet we are to believe these gods in white coats as they tell us “it doesn’t matter how hard one works” or all the science and technology in
the world according to these gods who worship Apollo and swear to hypocrites, nothing can make a building safe for a smoker and nonsmoker to peacefully coexist. We have seen them make designer steroids for their athletes. They make the test, they make the machine, they pay the FDA to tell us what’s safe and what not safe. Only a select few can join their organization as they encourage their bounty hunters to criminalize us for
the cheap and the free. From their air powered needles injectors to micro waves and light waves with the push of a button they can destroy the goodness of the plant .We know sound technology is classified information. We know they can use thermal imaging photography to see through walls, are we really to believe that the medical monopoly or oil companies don’t
know about this? Or that the Arabs with their trillions of dollars haven’t invested some of their money to eliminate the immoral American or used their aroma therapy and sensory depravation to control the crave? They can wage this war against the defenseless American claming that such technology needs
to be kept classified so they can go after the next American business owner. Whether it’s the modern day Thomas Edison, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington or Henry ford how long are we suppose to believe that we are criminals for honoring the first page of the Christian bible the power over the plants and animals, While these talibomb try to tell us pot is too dangerous for us to study or grow and bring the American people the $0.55 a gallon gas they deserve all the while our movie stars get hooked to their drugs and run broke, are we really to believe that these immoral who justify attacking cancer and scoliosis WHO make billions off our old and sick cant make someone allergic to something as simple as peanuts ( or an undetectable bug bite) and then chase him around the world with their peanut oil pushing their latest drug as a cure for what the medical monopoly cant find or explain as anything being wrong. Weather its their meth, crack whatever as long as they can keep them from the natural plant there is no where that the movie star or undesirable can run and escape these tali bomb as they criminalize the free and eliminate the immoral movie star , small
business, or who ever gets in their way or challenges their fraudulent science.


Tue, 07/31/2007 - 2:57pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Changing the drug laws is the most important issue in our times. It is the reason people fear the government as unlike murder, rape or RICO violations, drug violations require no more proof than prevarications and equivocations of law enforcement officials of dubious integrity. It gives the government reason to look into traditionally private matters like your bank account and your business dealings. Authorities have carte blanche to kick in your door and search your house from the word of typically unethical and self-serving informants; and those people who claim they have nothing to hide are awash in a sea of ignorance in believing that if the Feds make a mistake or receive bad information, that they will clean up their mess and help pay for the destruction that they caused. In addition, anyone with a grudge against someone could mail some cocaine to the person in question and then call the authorities on them. It is virtually certain that these recipients of drugs by mail will end up in jail with a felony record.

As a direct result of the War on Some Drugs, both heroin and cocaine have increased in quality and decreased in price by dramatic amounts. The inverse relationship of drug demand and drug restrictions have been apparent since before the Opium Wars of the mid 1800's when demand in China skyrocketed by a factor of 500 fold as previously unrestricted opium became a prohibited commodity.

We have also created another type of organized crime that has its origin in the slums and housing projects of urban areas because of the tremendous profit incentives that illegal drugs provide. We did not learn our lesson from alcohol prohibition of the Volstead Act and the 18th Amendment, which was in effect from January 16th, 1920 until the 21st Amendment went into effect on December 5th, 1933. This was a long enough for the Mafia and traditional organized crime to take hold in this country and to this day still wields power and influence.

The other important issue of today is funded primarily by the War on Some Drugs and its prohibition on opium and other drugs as well is terrorism. Islamic Fundamentalists in Afghanistan are responsible for about 90% of the world's illegal opium production, and if there were de facto or de jure legalization of drugs, this source of funding would be far less significant as the amount of money to be made is reduced drastically. It is not the drugs that fund terrorism, it is the prohibition of drugs that is responsible. Blame the law makers and enforcers, not the drug users and addicts.

Never mind that we live in a country where freedom is supposedly paramount. Putting someone who uses drugs in prison because it is harmful to the addict is like putting a Type II diabetic in prison for eating too much and causing their body harm. Drug addiction is so stigmatized today that most addicts cannot even ask for help without consequences. The treatment options that do not involve prison would save the state Brobdingnagian amounts of money as incarceration costs upward of $20,000-$50,000 per year. An inpatient treatment program that lasted for even 6 months to 1 year would ultimately save money over the repeated multi-year prison terms that drug users routinely receive. Drug addiction is a medical issue as most addicts I have known suffer from clinical depression. If we looked at addiction as a medical and not a moral problem, we could benefit both society and the individual addict.

It is time that we cross party lines and elect a candidate that will change the drug laws and stop the War on Some Drugs. Whether you are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Green, it is time for a change and time vote only for candidates who have enough wisdom to see how our country is no longer free and in its death throws.

As a pharmacologist who researches drugs of abuse, it angers me to see the lies that are routinely regurgitated by ignorant law makers with no scientific background at all telling me why marijuana has no medical benefits. People who have not heard of Isaac Newton and who think the earth is only 6,000 years old should not be telling scientists about drugs or fetal stem cells, and it is time that the hippies of the 1960's who now vituperate the horrors of drug use to their children the same way their parents did to them wake up and realize that you are destroying our great republic.

MobiusDick, DVM, PhD

Fri, 07/27/2007 - 12:30pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Couch potatos next

As the monk returned back to STL he found these natzi were still out their using their biological weapons against the undesirable. Criminalized for barring arms against their harms and the first page of the Christian bible these natzi had enough practice eliminating the Berkley subversives . These natzi had told the monk long ago to join them in their silent genocide or be considered crazy. Making the burnt offering as the monk had always done he found these natzi torturing and terrorizing him once again, now he knew what it was like to be black in America. Their secret weapon that they could not admit to was kept classified so they could eliminate the next undesirable, or just call him crazy for seeking relief from their poison. After making him allergic to something similar to peanuts then chasing him around the world with their peanut oil who would believe him especially after making their baseless accusations aginst the monk. He found that they operated freely in the north taking the (umph) out of the alcohol and destroying the Holy Spirit in the water of life. And now the monk was forever guilty so everyone of the czars private natzi could join in running the monk broke keeping him from the natural plant and working to get the monk to commit a crime or get him hooked to their drugs so they could lock him away. As the monk searched the old neighborhood for those who were fighting to keep the people free he had seen most of the places had been bulldozed and now boarded up. Their genocide to clear the neighborhoods of the undesirable was slowly working, the monk remember hearing their propaganda “just close down the liquor stores in these bad neighborhoods and you won’t have these undesirable hanging out in front”, when in reality close down the liquor stores in the bad neighborhoods and when the czar and his natzi come after them they will have nowhere to run to seek relief from their poison and will be forced to do their drugs. Unable to stop these natizi and their continued assaults and torture the monk decides to do all he can to try to piss these natzi off to get these cowards to come out of hiding and hopefully end their terror. For when these scums are free to operate in other countries with impunity now no one is safe and there is no place to hide from the czar and the medical monopoly.

Science fiction or science fact: are you willing to condemn the Christian bible and the first page the power over the plants and animals God has granted to all men or believe these natzi as they make excuses for persecuting the cancer and scoliosis and sick

Tue, 07/31/2007 - 2:58pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I would have gladly gone to jail to have been part of the group of people who finally stood up to those chicken shit bastards! The DEA is blatantly disreguarding not only the laws of California, but the Constitution of the United States of America. The tenth amendment states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people".

I guess the DEA thiks that laws are only for us to follow. Somehow they figure they don't have to follow laws. I guess I can see where they would get that idea; they have been getting away with terrorizing U.S. citizens for so long now that they think it is ok. That is our fault for allowing thier ignorant war on drugs to continue for so long without resistance. It is high time we fire the useless bastards. Their job is totally unnessessary and causes far more harm than all the drugs in the world ever possibly could.

Fri, 07/27/2007 - 1:52pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Greetings to all who respect freedom. Our United States Constitution guarantees the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. A tyrannical government belongs in the archives of history. We who have needed the benefits of marijuana to ease pain and suffering have no where to turn when it comes to alleviating our pain. A government that refuses medicine to the sick and the dying is unjust. Bless all those who fight to stay alive. One day we will all be free. Until then, bless the fwarriors of the light. May cannabis be legal for all of us.

Fri, 07/27/2007 - 2:28pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Isn't this interesting . . .

(1) The American people have voted in 12 states to allow the sick access to Marijuana. The Bush Administration responds by trumping the people's will by trumping local laws with federal laws.

(2) The American people have recently forced the Federal Senate to withdraw and Immigration Amnesty Bill because there were so many calls to the Senate that the phone bank crashed for the first time in history. The Bush Administration (and much of the Corporate Controlled Congress) responds by continuing to NOT enforce our immigration laws.

In one case they insist on enforcing the law. In another they provide defacto legalization to Illegal Aliens by NOT enforcing the laws.

So what do they have in common? In both cases the actual actions of the "government" represent the will of the Corporate funded plutocracy. They don't want competition for the drugs they produce. The do want to destroy the American middle class in order to fatten their own bottom line.

The problem . . .

We no longer have a government "by, for and of" the American people. We need to remedy this before the only solution is REVOLUTION.

Yours in Freedom,

Bruce W. Cain
Editor, New Age Citizen

Fri, 07/27/2007 - 3:09pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I do not foresee any changes to this bleak situation until 2008, when we will surely say good riddance to the worst Administration in U.S. history! Until then, I am afraid that we will be fighting the Feds tooth and nail for our right to safe access.

Sat, 07/28/2007 - 8:18am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

While I once thought that there could be nothing done until 2008, I now think that continued resistance is the current answer to the problem . The more we resist, the more the evildoers will persist. Thereby , exposing themselves to fuller scrutiny by the public. They, ONDCP/ DEA etc. ,cannot long operate in the light of truth and common sense.Resistance is revolution.

Sun, 07/29/2007 - 10:33am Permalink
anonymous (not verified)

Just think how our founding fathers would feel if they knew the country turned into this right-wing corporate capitalistic ego trip! They would probably smoke a doobie and wonder what they bothered revolting for if it was going to end up the same again, only this time its AMERCANS keeping AMERICANS down, not the British. This the exact opposite of everything they wanted for the American people! Not only do the insurance companies make patients suffer outrageous healthcare costs that leave most of them(and their families) deeper in debt that they can ever get out of,("free healthcare for all?' Where was that lost?) but when the meds don't work and the patient seeks alternative methods to ease their PAIN, they only suffer more at the hands of our very own government employees? Its disgusting and downright SICK to do that to people who have already suffered enough. I'm sure good old George would start another revolution if he were around. The first Revolution would have eerily similar motives to a second one, its time for the FATCATS to lose the power and the wealth that got them there once again! Its a shame that most americans are just as ignorant(if not more) as our lawmakers and they can't see the people in power are wasting OUR MONEY to obtain their own twisted means! Turn off your TV's and look aroud you people!

Mon, 10/12/2009 - 9:57pm Permalink

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