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Medical Marijuana raids in San Francisco

My first reaction was to jump all over the story (which has been reported elsewhere) of DEA raids on medical marijuana operations in San Francisco (so quickly after the Supreme Court decision). Given the official stories of money laundering and ecstasy, etc. in conjunction with the busts, however, I decided to wait until I had more information.
After reading the latest report from the Legal Campaign Director with Americans for Safe Access, I am now prepared to call “shenanigans” at the DEA and the SFPD.
Here’s the report:

In order to explain ASA’s reaction to the recent raids, we offer this as at
least an interim analysis.

First, is has become clear that the DEA and SFPD (among other local law
enforcement agencies) were operating collaboratively to shut down medical
marijuana dispensaries at least two of which had been open for a number of
years, supplying patients with much-needed medicine. This cooperation would
appear to contradict the city’s medical marijuana sanctuary resolution from
2001 ,
as well as the District Attorney’s comments from last week in the SF Bay
Guardian affirming patients’ rights
and expressing an unwillingness to cooperate with the feds.

Second, the bulk of the indictments are for marijuana cultivation. This was
evidenced by the fact that the dominant agency during the raids was the DEA,
and that what was most visible was numerous plants being hauled out of the
facilities. While three indictments were for possession with intent to
distribute ecstasy, and another two were for “money laundering,” these
allegations are from proven and represent a common tactic by the feds to
create a smokescreen for their real intentions. In fact, the “money laundering”
accusations appear to be levied as a result of operators simply depositing
money from medical marijuana proceeds into a bank account. The allegations of
ecstasy distribution has no physical connection to any of the dispensaries.

Third, allegations of “organized crime” within a certain ethnic community
works to pit dispensing facilities, patients, and people in the “movement”
against each other in a “divide and conquer” strategy. Accusing only Asians of
illegal acts allows the feds to claim that the activities were gang-related,
thereby splitting liberal support for medical marijuana playing on fears of the
Asian mafia.

Fourth, the fact that the DEA made statements that differentiate medical
from non-medical also points to a “divide and conquer” strategy. The truth is
that the federal government does not believe marijuana is medicine regardless.
Their position and intent is not an accident, but likely well planned to
broadcast to California and the nation that dispensaries (and they are
implicitly grouping all dispensaries in this strategy) are just front operations
for drug dealing and organized crime. At a time when over 40 cities and counties
are deliberating regulations on dispensing, this is no mistake.

Fifth, no evidence appears to exist that these operations were anything but
medical marijuana operations. Again, two of the three dispensaries had been
operating for years, providing medicine to countless patients. The amount of
marijuana seized is consistent with the needs of the patients to whom they
were providing medicine.

Therefore, this is a time to come together in defiance against raids such as
these and for the medical marijuana movement to speak as a united front.
Similar federal activity happened a couple of years ago, but, due to a strong
patient response, the feds backed off. The drug war and the feds’ war against
medical marijuana is a political one, that, despite having very real
ramifications, is typically fought on the streets as opposed to a courtroom.
Before buying into their “divide and conquer” strategy, ASA invites everyone to
think critically about what has happened and join us in fighting back against
this affront to patients. Let us not forget that Bryan Epis, Ed Rosenthal, and
Scott Imler (among many others) have all been named criminals by the Federal
government.

Yep, it appears that the DEA is back to business as usual — using taxpayer money to harass sick people.

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