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Indybay Feature
DEA Terrorism
by Tim C
Friday Sep 13th, 2002 10:13 AM
An aggressive federal offensive targeting medical marijuana providers,
growers and patients in California is rapidly energizing common
citizens and elected officials alike in support.
An aggressive federal offensive targeting medical marijuana providers,
growers and patients in California is rapidly energizing common
citizens and elected officials alike in support. The raid September 5
against the Santa Cruz Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana
( may mark the beginning of a real anti-federal
mobilization in California.

In late breaking news, DRCNet learned Thursday evening that the DEA had
struck again, this time raiding the Genesis medical marijuana
dispensary in Petaluma and an associated garden in Sebastopol and
arresting Genesis owner Robert Schmidt, who was being held by the DEA
as of Thursday afternoon. Americans for Safe Access
(, the coalition that has spearheaded
protests against previous raids, has issued an emergency alert calling
for demonstrations at federal buildings across the country on Monday.
According to ASA, large numbers of plants were seized, witnesses
reported an ambulance at the scene, and Schmidt had been charged with
assaulting an officer.

"We are shocked that the DEA would make medical marijuana its top
priority while the rest of the county is at a high state of alert,"
said ASA executive director Steph Sherer. "While the country was on
orange alert on September 11, 30 DEA agents were busily plotting an
attack on the medical marijuana community. The president warned us of
an attack," Sherer continued, "but he didn't tell us it would be from
our own government."

The Santa Cruz raid has been denounced by the local sheriff's
department, which failed to intervene when angry WAMM patients blocked
DEA raiders from leaving the WAMM garden they had just destroyed, as
well as by members of the Santa Cruz city council and other state
political figures -- including Attorney General Bill Lockyer, long
criticized by medical marijuana advocates as too flaccid in supporting
the law.

Santa Cruz city council members are not limiting themselves to angry
words. City officials announced this week that they will join a
medical marijuana giveaway at City Hall next week to send a message to
the Justice Department that medical marijuana is welcome in Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz residents approved Proposition 215, the 1996 medical
marijuana initiative, by a 74% margin. In 2000, the city council
approved an ordinance allowing medical marijuana to be grown and used
without a prescription.

"It's just absolutely loathsome to me that federal money, energy and
staff time would be used to harass people like this," vice mayor Emily
Reilly told reporters as she announced she would participate in handing
out medical marijuana to sick people at City Hall.

While the city of Santa Cruz has passed a resolution denouncing the
raid, the City Hall action is not an official city event. City
officials and members of the public will be allowed to use city
facilities for the protest, the city attorney explained.

The DEA's San Francisco spokesman pronounced himself flummoxed by the
announced event. "Are you serious?" Richard Meyer asked the Associated
Press when told of the giveaway. "That's illegal. It's like they're
flouting federal law," he said. "I'm shocked that city leaders would
promote the use of marijuana that way. What is that saying to our

[Editor's note: It could well be saying to our youth that marijuana,
like morphine, cocaine, sedatives, tranquilizers and many other
substances, has legitimate medical uses and that drug war
totalitarianism should not interfere with medical care.]

If the DEA is "shocked" at the Santa Cruz giveaway, California Attorney
General Bill Lockyer has aroused himself long enough to send a letter
to DEA head Asa Hutchinson and Attorney General John Ashcroft
complaining about the raids and asking for a meeting to discuss the

"I must question the ethical basis for the DEA's policy when these
raids are being executed without apparent regard for the likelihood of
successful prosecution," Lockyer wrote. "Whether or not the US
Attorney decides to file in the Santa Cruz case, my Department is aware
of other recent DEA-initiated raids involving as few as six marijuana
plants in which no charges were ever filed, and no convictions were
obtained. Conversations with DEA representatives in California have
made it clear that the DEA's strategic policy is to conduct these raids
as punitive expeditions whether or not a crime can be successfully

The US Attorney's office in San Francisco announced this week that
Valerie and Michael Corral, the operators of WAMM, would join the
growing list of those raided but not prosecuted. Such tactics make
sense for the DEA in California. Raids effectively destroy the
operation in question, and the federal government doesn't have to worry
about actually winning a case in a state where the electorate voted for
medical marijuana.

"A medicinal marijuana provider such as the Santa Cruz collective
represents little danger to the public," Lockyer wrote, "and is
certainly not a concern which would warrant diverting scarce federal
resources away from the fight against domestic methamphetamine
production, heroin distribution or international terrorism to cite just
a few far more worthy priorities."

Whether the Lockyer letter will lead to any concrete response remains
to be seen. According to Lockyer spokeswoman Hallye Jordan, DEA head
Hutchinson called to acknowledge receiving the letter, but no meeting
has been set. There has been no response from the Justice Department,
Jordan told DRCNet. And like her boss, Jordan used the medical
marijuana issue to plump for increased funds for the state's Campaign
Against Marijuana Production (CAMP), which she characterized as
"seizing a million plants from Mexican narco-traffickers, as opposed to
medical marijuana that would benefit seriously ill and dying patients."

"We are pleased to see the Attorney General finally responding to this
crisis," said ASA executive director Stephanie Sherer. "We hope he
will follow up," she told DRCNet.

While Lockyer scribbled to the feds, medical marijuana supporters took
to the streets in cities in Northern California and across the country
last weekend, demonstrating at federal buildings in 15 cities and the
Justice Department in Washington, DC, Sherer said.

More protests are scheduled for September 23 at the sentencing hearing
for convicted medical marijuana grower Bryan Epis, who faces a federal
mandatory minimum prison sentence. A coalition led by ASA will lead
those protests. But now, given Thursday's raid on Genesis, immediate
attention will turn to Monday's emergency response protests. "We
really want to get people to turn out, even if it's just a few of you,"
said Sherer. "Last week, we had two people in with a sign in front of
the federal building in Austin, and they were quoted on the AP wire."

As California's political class slowly mobilizes in support of the
state's medical marijuana law, as editorial page writers chime in to
denounce the raids, and as medical marijuana supporters and their
allies take to the streets, the federal government may have finally
found the confrontation it has been so assiduously seeking.

Please visit for details. All marijuana users must come out of the closet now!
Add Your Comments
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concernedout of closetSaturday Sep 14th, 2002 3:32 PM
Santa Cruz Rocks!!greenFriday Sep 13th, 2002 11:20 PM
Press Democrat articleTim CFriday Sep 13th, 2002 12:36 PM
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