Bay Area Medical Marijuana Clubs Move Records, Inform Patients in Preparation for DEA Raids
Following two recent federal raids on California medical marijuana clubs, clubs in the Bay Area are acting to protect their clients' privacy and are urging them to grow marijuana at home, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Although California voters in 1996 approved Proposition 215, which permits the sale of small amounts of marijuana for medical purposes, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that marijuana, even for medicinal purposes, is illegal. The ruling "essentially clear[ed] the way for law enforcement officials to close organized co-ops that distribute marijuana." In the last two months, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration shut down the West Hollywood-based Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center and seized thousands of patient records from an El Dorado County doctor who gave medical marijuana referrals to his patients. According to San Francisco District Attorney Terrence Hallinan, several Bay Area marijuana clubs have been the "targets of DEA surveillance"; many are "brac[ing]" for raids. For instance, Lynette Shaw, founder of the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, has moved patient records from her office to a different site. She said, "Everyone is gravely concerned. There are 1,000 people in Los Angeles who are getting sick and wasting away because of the DEA raid. We don't want that to happen here." Meanwhile, the Berkeley Patients Group is handing out fliers about the raids to its clients. The group's founder, Don Duncan, said, "We're on a heightened state of alert. We're in full compliance with California laws, but the federal government doesn't seem to care about that" (Martin, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.