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Wed Jul 25 2007 DEA Raids at Least 6 Dispensaries in Greater Los Angeles
On July 25th, the Los Angeles City Council voted to move forward with the regulation of medical cannabis (marijuana) dispensaries. At nearly the same time, federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents were conducting raids on at least 6 dispensaries in the Los Angeles area. After hundreds of patients and advocates blockaded the California Patients' Group, the DEA and LAPD released those who were being detained inside. Five protesters were arrested on various charges and were likely to be released that night. CPG reopened later that evening. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is calling for statewide protests Friday, Jul7 27th. In Los Angeles, protesters will gather at 9am at the federal building (255 East Temple) and will march to City Hall (200 N Spring St.) to request that the city do everything it can to ensure protection for its patients and providers from further federal interference.

The Council approved the first reading of a moratorium on new dispensaries in the city, with final approval expected within a week. The moratorium will give the city time to draft regulations that would establish a permit process and guidelines for providers of medical marijuana. The Council also passed a resolution in support of a vote in Congress that would deny funding to the U.S. Department of Justice and the DEA for enforcement against medical marijuana patients and providers.

LA City Councilmember Dennis Zine held a press conference Wednesday morning to announce that three Councilmembers had sent a letter to DEA Administrator Karen Tandy. The letter requests that the DEA "allow this City Council to continue the important work of regulating these facilities without Federal interference." Despite the apparent conflict between state and federal law, Zine affirms the need to "uphold the will of our voters and adopt sensible guidelines to regulate the provision of medical cannabis in our communities." Federal activity has been on the rise recently, as many medical cannabis dispensaries have been raided, and the DEA has sent threatening letters to at least 140 landlords of dispensing facilities.

A vote was also scheduled to take place in Congress today that would prevent federal funds to be used to interfere in the twelve states that have adopted medical marijuana laws. The Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment to the House Commerce-Justice-State appropriations bill would end the federal crackdown currently occurring in Los Angeles and in other parts of California. The resolution adopted by the Los Angeles City Council supports the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment and the prohibition of further raids on "[medical] marijuana dispensaries in states that have laws supporting their operation." Los Angeles' neighbor to the east, the City of Claremont, voted Tuesday night to allow and regulate a dispensary within its city limits.

Letter from LA Councilmembers to DEA Administrator Karen Tandy | Resolution adopted by the Los Angeles City Council in support of Hinchey-Rohrabacher | The DEA letter to more than 140 landlords in the Los Angeles area | ASA's one-pager on the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment

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