Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Yet Another Medical Marijuana Raid

Despite repeated promises from the Obama administration that the raids on medical marijuana dispensaries, there was yet another raid the other day.

Yesterday, armed federal DEA agents raided Emmalyn’s California Cannabis Clinic, a licensed medical marijuana facility in San Francisco. This action – seemingly at odds with the recent policy change announced by the U.S. Justice Department – drew the ire of San Franciscans, who overwhelmingly support medical marijuana access.

According to a vague statement released by the DEA last night, the collective was not complying with state law and therefore wasn’t subject to the recent policy change.

It’s possible that they really did break the law. Even with medical marijuana legal in the state of California, there are still laws to be followed. If a medical dispensary is being used in a fraudulent manner, you can’t expect the government to look the other way (as much as I’d like to see the government stay completely out of the issue). But if that’s the case, they’d better have the goods on them and be able to get a conviction in court.

However, the San Francisco Department of Public Health has issued a conditional permit to the collective, which was actively working with the city to obtain a permanent license. The medical marijuana permitting process in San Francisco is one of the more difficult in the state and includes mandatory inspections for compliance.

MPP is asking supporters to demand an explanation from the White House about this recent attack on San Francisco patients.

“Because so little information has been released thus far, we have more questions than answers,” Aaron Houston, MPP director of government relations says. “But with an actual shooting war at the Mexican border, not to mention federal law enforcement there being so overwhelmed that traffickers coming through the border with up to 500 pounds of marijuana are let go, it’s very hard to believe that this is the best use of DEA resources, especially in a city with an active program to license and regulate medical marijuana providers.”

One would certainly think so. The San Francisco paper has more information:

A source in San Francisco city government who was informed about the raid said the DEA’s action appeared to be prompted by alleged financial improprieties related to the payment of sales taxes. DEA Special Agent Casey McEnry, spokeswoman for the local office, would not comment on that information.

If that is indeed the case, there’s a real problem here. The federal DEA should not be involved in raiding any state-licensed facility for state income tax problems. Holder has said quite explicitly that the Obama administration would respect state law on this matter and that clearly is not happening so far.