DEA Agents Raid Santa Rosa Medical Marijuana Club
U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents on Wednesday raided a Santa Rosa medical marijuana buyers' club and arrested two people, marking the latest action in the ongoing conflict between federal and state officials over Proposition 215, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports (AP/Contra Costa Times, 5/31). Under Proposition 215, people with serious illnesses are exempted from the state's marijuana laws if they are using the drug at the recommendation of a physician. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in May 2001 that under a 1970 federal law, marijuana has no medical benefits and may not be prescribed by doctors (California Healthline, 5/6). Sonoma County allows certified marijuana users who obtain a letter from a panel of doctors to possess up to three pounds of the drug (AP/Contra Costa Times, 5/31). Yesterday, the Aiko Compassion Center, which was "already ... effectively out of business" under a cease-and-desist order from the DEA, was evicted from its storefront, and the two men arrested in the raid were charged with cultivating marijuana and released on bail. According to marijuana advocates, three similar buyers' clubs operate in the area; two are in Guerneville and one is in Petaluma (Callahan, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 5/31).
San Francisco DEA spokesperson Rich Meyer said that the agency was not targeting marijuana clubs but is investigating marijuana trafficking groups. "As we develop leads, we follow those leads. If one takes us to a marijuana club, then we continue that investigation," he added (AP/Contra Costa Times, 5/31). However, John Sugg, an Aiko manager, said that five raids on local marijuana clubs in recent months made him "apprehensive" about a raid on his club, which served about 100 people (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 5/31). In February, DEA agents raided a medical marijuana club in San Francisco and arrested four people (AP/Contra Costa Times, 5/31).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.