DEA Medical Marijuana Raids

DEA Medical Marijuana Raids
Posted by CN Staff on October 24, 2002 at 18:48:10 PT
By Preston Peet- for
Charles Edward "Eddy" Lepp and his wife Linda Senti own a farm in Upper Lake, California, with a sign out front that reads, "Eddy's Medicinal Gardens and Chapel." Nestled up against the Mendecino National Forest at the lower edge of the Emerald Triangle, they're very open about growing high-grade medical marijuana on their farm. On August 27, 2002, DEA agents and members of the Lake County Narcotics Task Force raided the farm while Lepp and his wife were away in San Francisco.
Although the DEA claims its agents confiscated 266 nearly mature marijuana plants, "There are no pending federal charges against this gentleman or his wife," US Attorney in San Francisco spokesperson Debbie Young told this writer. Lepp, an ordained minister and Vietnam veteran, is the first person to have been arrested, tried and acquitted under the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, better known as Proposition 215, for growing medical marijuana in California. It is a mystery to many how the feds can justify their recent spat of raids on medical marijuana growers as they are not pressing charges in most cases even after finding large quantities of pot. It would appear that if a warrant were issued for a search and illegal contraband was recovered, arrests would be forthcoming, but in many recent cases in California this has not happened. For other unfortunate victims of capricious federal anti-drug warriors, it's worse, in that some are facing raids and charges for ridiculously small amounts of pot that the locals not only know about, but condone. Steve McWilliams, who gave out free medical marijuana to patients from the city hall steps in San Diego on September 17, in protest of yet another chargeless raid- this one against the Wo/man's Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Santa Cruz on September 5- was given a warning letter by DEA agents, then had DEA troopers show up to destroy his 25 plant garden within a week. "This guy is violating the law and he's flaunting it. He brought this whole thing on himself," DEA spokesperson Donald Thornhill, Jr. told the San Diego Tribune. "If you voice your opinion and assert your rights, then you become a target for the DEA? That’s unfortunate," said Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of the NORML Foundation. "The idea is that he’s ‘flaunting it’ by simply asserting his rights under state law and under the 1st Amendment. If that’s the kind of criteria, then judges and eventually appeals court panels should hear these cases on the basis that it sound like selective prosecutorial misconduct." McWilliams is now facing a 5-year mandatory minimum prison sentence if convicted as a result of this raid, combined with charges just now levied by the feds for another raid back in 1999 on the Shelter from the Storm Cannabis Collective, which McWilliams helped organize. These DEA actions are disturbing to many people, patients and public officials alike. San Jose, California Police Chief William Lansdowne recently pulled his officers off their assignments to the DEA's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force, a cooperative narcotics law enforcement effort between local, state, and federal officers, saying his officers have more important things to concentrate on, like methamphetamines. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who supports and even voted for the Compassionate Use Act, sent a letter to DEA head Asa Hutchinson and US Attorney General John Ashcroft, saying, "I must also question the ethical basis for the DEA's policy when these reaids are being executed without apparent regard to the likelihood of successful prosecution," after the DEA raid on the Wo/men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana. That was just one of Lockyer's "concerns, that the feds were making more political statements without really intending to carry the case through," said Hallye Jordan, spokesperson for Attorney General Lockyer. "That was sparked by the Santa Cruz raid. That was the one he was most concerned about because local law enforcement was totally unaware of it, not involved and uninformed. At this point, because there are no state-wide standards, the Attorney General has encouraged communities to get together, the law enforcement, the health professionals, the medical marijuana advocates, city and county officials, and put together a plan, whether it’s how many plants would be covered as for medical purposes, or what sort of identification card would be appropriate, to just come up with their own way to meet their community standards. You know, some guidelines for implementing Proposition 215. And in fact, that’s what the case was in Santa Cruz. The clinic there was sanctioned by local law enforcement and city officials. They were all working together. It was all working out just the way we’d hoped it would be lacking the state-wide standards." DEA chief Hutchinson's reply -- -- to Lockyer's letter addressed at length the Supreme Court ruling that Congress has decreed marijuana to have no currently accepted medical benefits, but did not address the vindictive raiding by federal enforcers without subsequent is happy to have had the opportunity to speak with Lepp and his wife over the course of a couple days this week, about the raid at his place, what he plans to do about it, and a number of other topics too, in an interview which we now post here. Short discussions with representatives of California Attorney General Lockyer's office and NORML follow this interview.Complete Article: Source: DrugWar.comAuthor: Preston Peet- for DrugWar.comPublished: October 24, 2002Copyright: 2002 Kalyx com Contact: ptpeet Website: Articles & Web Site:NORML’s Medicinal Gardens Activists Give It Away at City Hall Confiscate 266 Pot Plants Loving Life on Pot Farm
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Comment #1 posted by knox42897 on October 24, 2002 at 23:40:14 PT:
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