Archive for the ‘raid’ category

UPDATE: Florida Medical Marijuana Patient Raided Hours After Being Mentioned in Newspaper

February 26th, 2013
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Cathy Jordan

Yesterday, the Miami Herald published an article discussing a recent poll that shows a majority of Florida voters support medical marijuana. The article specifically mentioned the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act and talked about how it could affect the gubernatorial race in 2014.

Apparently, certain folks in law enforcement didn’t like what they saw.

In a bizarre twist that some see as more than just a coincidence, Cathy Jordan, who has Lou Gehrig’s disease and for whom the bill is named, had her home raided by Manatee County sheriffs just hours after the article was published.

Deputies entered the property, claiming they had probable cause to search based on a tip and found two mature marijuana plants and 21 immature seedlings growing inside.

A spokesman for the sheriff’s office claimed deputies had no knowledge of the pending legislation, and that they have no desire to get involved in the publicity of such a discussion.

Luckily, no arrests were made, but the case is being reviewed by the state attorney’s office.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jeff Clemens, was not amused:

Clemens said Monday he was angry about the raid on the Jordan house.

“Do we want to be the kind of state that raids the home of a woman in a wheelchair in order to enforce outdated laws?” Clemens said Monday night.

If you are a Florida resident, please contact your lawmakers and ask them to support the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act.

Another Victim of the Government’s War on Marijuana

January 14th, 2013

Matthew Davies

Today’s New York Times includes a feature story about California medical marijuana provider Matthew Davies, who federal prosecutors are pressuring to accept a five-year mandatory minimum as a plea agreement. Federal authorities indicted Matthew last year on charges of marijuana cultivation, calling him “one of the most significant commercial marijuana traffickers to be prosecuted in this district.” By all accounts, the two dispensaries Matthew owned were in total compliance with state law and were models of professionalism and service.

He brought graduate-level business skills to a world decidedly operating in the shadows. He hired accountants, compliance lawyers, managers, a staff of 75 and a payroll firm. He paid California sales tax and filed for state and local business permits.

“This is not a case of an illicit drug ring under the guise of medical marijuana,” [his attorney] wrote. “Here, marijuana was provided to qualified adult patients with a medical recommendation from a licensed physician. Records were kept, proceeds were tracked, payroll and sales taxes were duly paid.”

Does this sound like a dangerous criminal who we should spend federal resources to arrest, prosecute, and possibly jail? Medical marijuana providers who followed state law, like Matthew, weren’t supposed to be the targets of federal attack and provide an excellent example for others in the industry. Nevertheless, he is facing a significant amount of time in jail regardless of whether he takes the plea, which will surely take a serious toll on him and his family.

“To be looking at 15 years of our life, you couldn’t pay me enough to give that up,” Mr. Davies said at the dining room table in his two-story home along the San Joaquin River Delta, referring to the amount of time he could potentially serve in prison.

Matthew and his family are not taking this lying down. Matthew’s wife Molly published this open letter to President Obama today in the Huffington Post. You can find out more about Matthew’s case and how you can help at http://www.keepmattfree.org/.

War on Medical Cannabis Continues: Feds Target LA Dispensaries for Closure

September 25th, 2012

Federal authorities with the US Attorney’s Los Angeles office issued official warning letters to 68 Los Angeles medical cannabis dispensaries today, initiated forfeiture lawsuits against three properties that did business with dispensaries, and served search warrants on three further locations.

In an official statement on today’s action, US Attorney André Birotte Jr.stated:

“Over the past several years, we have seen an explosion of commercial marijuana stores -– an explosion that is being driven by the massive profits associated with marijuana distribution. As today’s operations make clear, the sale and distribution of marijuana violates federal law, and we intend to enforce the law. Even those stores not targeted today should understand that they cannot continue to profit in violation of the law.”

The LA Weekly is reporting that the list of targets included every single dispensary in the Downtown, Huntington, and Eagle Rock areas of the city. You can read more media coverage here and here. We will keep you updated as the situation develops.

Another Group of Victims in the War on Marijuana

September 20th, 2012

In another example of drug war excess, officers raided and vandalized the home of Beach Park, Illinois resident Paul Brown on Friday afternoon of last week. The apparent impetus for the raid was a mysterious package delivered to the house 10 minutes earlier. Brown’s son-in-law, Wilmer Aries, received the package and noted that it was not addressed to any of the house’s residents. Instead, it bore the name “Oscar” and an unfamiliar last name.

Brown, a 58-year-old architect, explained that the officers with the Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group broke down his front door in the no-knock raid, handcuffed him, and pointed a gun at his face. “The garage door was open. They could have just walked in,” he said. “They didn’t have to crash the front door down.”
Although the officers seized the package, claiming it contained marijuana, their two-hour ransacking of the house, including ripping out insulation from the basement walls, uncovered no evidence to incriminate anyone in the house and led to no arrests. “They were upset they didn’t find anything. When I asked them who was going to pay for the door they basically said, ‘Not us’,” said Brown, who noted the door on his luxury home was valued at $3,000 some 12 years ago and the lock set was another $130 from Home Depot.

Brown even noted that the officers, far from apologizing for their mistake, seemed to be congratulating each other on the operation with high fives and fist-bumps. His subsequent calls to the MEG were not returned, nor were calls from news outlets. He has hired a lawyer to file a civil suit and explains that he and his 77-year-old mother-in-law were particularly shaken by the incident. “She’s afraid to even take a nap on the couch now,” he said. “I can hardly sleep. It changes your frame of mind.” His lawyer, Christopher Cohen, characterized the Browns as “innocent bystanders in the war on drugs.”

As Reason.com notes, this is not the first time a wrongful no-knock raid was carried out in the U.S. based simply on the delivery of a package of marijuana. In 2008, the home of Cheye Calvo, mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, was raided by a SWAT team and his two dogs fatally shot. The mayor complained, leading to an investigation, but as the raid was ultimately ruled legitimate, this will likely not be the last such incident.

Oaksterdam’s Richard Lee speaks out on federal raids of his university and home

April 5th, 2012

Oaksterdam founder Richard lee

On today’s episode of NORML SHOW LIVE we spoke live with Richard Lee, founder of Oaksterdam University.  Click this link to hear the interview.

Richard told me he’s doing as well as can be expected when federal agents violate your home and business.  He tells us the nature of the federal warrants that were served Monday in early morning raids.

Richard was “treated well” by the authorities – “they didn’t even break anything,” he told us – and he was not arrested, though that possibility still exists.

Most remarkably, Richard expressed an optimistic view that these actions will galvanize the public opinion even more in our favor for ending this tragic medical marijuana crackdown.

Richard reminded us that juries cannot be punished for their verdicts and urged everyone to work hard to get on jury duty so we can begin to dismantle the prosecution of prohibition.

In closing, he lamented the IRS tax charges being used against him and others in the cannabis industry.  ”They can’t have it both ways,” he complained about the government’s claim he owes taxes on something that is illegal.  ”No taxation without legalization!”

Join with Richard Lee and NORML in demanding an end to federal raids.  Make President Obama keep his campaign pledge to not devote federal resources to prosecuting medical marijuana providers that are in compliance with state law.

Oaksterdam Pledges To Reopen Wednesday After Marijuana Raid

April 3rd, 2012
After federal agents swept across a formerly down-on-its-luck area of downtown Oakland, raiding the businesses owned by ganjapreneur Richard Lee which had revitalized the community, officials connected with Lee's flagship Oaksterdam University vowed the cannabis college would reopen on Wednesday.U.S. Marshals and agents from the IRS and DEA on Monday morning raided all of the downtown businesses connected to Lee, including Oaksterdam, the medical marijuana dispensary Coffeeshop Blue Sky, and a plant nursery connected to the dispensary, reports Chris Roberts at SF Weekly. Continue reading "Oaksterdam Pledges To Reopen Wednesday After Marijuana Raid" >

Oaksterdam University Raided

April 2nd, 2012

UPDATE: Not many more details have emerged regarding the purpose of yesterday’s raids. From the Oakland Tribune:

Authorities refused to provide details about the raids carried out by U.S. Marshals and agents with the Drug Enforcement Agency and Internal Revenue Service. Lee was briefly detained in his home, but not arrested, supporters said. Two protesters were arrested as agents seized marijuana plants and other materials from Oaksterdam’s downtown Oakland locations, all of which remained closed Monday.

Thankfully, the gunman at Oikos University in Oakland that murdered seven people and wounded several others while this was happening turned himself in to authorities. With law enforcement wasting time and resources on targeting state-legal educational businesses and legal medical marijuana patients, who knows how long he could have been at large? No one else was hurt by this person, but things could have gone very differently.

The political nature of the targets chosen by the feds has not escaped lawmakers or the marijuana reform community, either. While protestors turned out in large numbers to decry the attacks, legislators from five medical marijuana states were sending a letter to the federal government, asking it to end its interference with state medical marijuana programs.

Americans for Safe Access and other supporters of medical marijuana rights will be holding a press conference today, Tuesday, April 3 at 11:00 a.m. on the steps of City Hall located at 1 Dr. Carlton B Goodlett Place in San Francisco. If you are in the Bay Area, let the federal government feel your presence.

 

ORIGINAL (4/2/12 AT 12:47pm EST): For the last several hours, agents from the U.S. Marshals, DEA, and IRS have been conducting a raid on Oaksterdam University and other businesses associated with Proposition 19 proponent Richard Lee. Lee was the primary financial supporter of the attempt to make marijuana legal in California in 2010, and his marijuana businesses in Oakland helped revitalize that area of the city.

Reports are still coming in, but it seems that several people have been arrested in the raids and more are being detained at the scenes.

Supporters of medical marijuana patients and the marijuana reform community were quick to respond in defense of Oaksterdam, which is an industry leader in cannabis science education. Protesters have flooded the area, and there are unconfirmed reports that several have been arrested as well.

While law enforcement has been busy knocking over a pillar of the community, a shooting was taking place at the exact same time at a nearby Christian university. At least eight people have been injured, and as of a few minutes ago, the suspect is still at large.

This is a tragic day for the residents of Oakland. Their public servants need to be using every resource at hand to deal with real problems, not persecuting legitimate, peaceful businesses and medical marijuana patients.

10,000-Plant Marijuana Farm Found In Oregon Forest

August 26th, 2011
​Police seized what they claimed were more than 10,300 marijuana plants from an illegal plantation on privately owned forest land in northeastern Oregon on Wednesday. They claimed the crop was worth about $25 million.Two men, ages 50 and 25, were arrested and jailed after police raided the grow site, reports KVAL.com.The investigation began last week when a helicopter spotted the plants from the air. Law enforcement searched the rural property in Wallowa County, not far from the Washington and Idaho borders.They said they found more than 10,300 plants ranging from three to five feet tall. All the plants have been destroyed, authorities claimed. Continue reading "10,000-Plant Marijuana Farm Found In Oregon Forest" >