More MS news articles for Oct 2001

DEA Raids California Medi-Pot Dispensary, Seizes 5,000 Patient Records

Feds Action, Recent Busts Indicate Government Crackdown on Patients

NORML News Release - October 4, 2001

Cool, CA: Federal agents raided the offices of the California Medical Research Center in El Dorado County Friday, seizing 32 marijuana plants and thousands of medical records from club members. Club proprietors Dr. Marion Fry and her husband, attorney Dale Schafer, were not arrested in the raid. The bust marks the first time federal agents have targeted a state medical marijuana facility since voters legalized the possession and cultivation of medicinal cannabis in 1996, and comes only weeks after newly-appointed DEA Director Asa Hutchinson announced that any use of marijuana as a medicine "is a violation of federal law ... [and we're] not going to tolerate a violation of the law."

NORML Foundation Legal Director Donna Shea strongly criticized the raid. "In addition to violating the rights of Californians to set their own public health policy, the DEA has seized records that are protected by attorney/client and doctor/patient privilege," she said.

In a similar event, DEA agents recently seized more than 200 plants from a medicinal pot farm outside of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times reported. No arrests were made. The marijuana was destined for patients at the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Cooperative, the paper said.

In a separate case, the director of the Salmon Creek Cannabis Cooperative in Humbolt County is facing federal charges after police seized the club's 200 plants. California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer called the decision to prosecute the case federally "highly unusual" since the federal government typically involves itself only in pot cases averaging 1,000 or more plants.

"We can only hope these actions do not represent a new federal initiative to override the will of the voters in California," NORML Director Keith Stroup said.

For more information, please contact Donna Shea, NORML Foundation Legal Director, at (202) 483-8751 or California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer at (415) 563-5858.

1001 Connecticut Ave, NW - Ste 710 - Washington, DC 20036

Tel. 202.483.8751 - Fax 202.483.0057 - E-mail - Internet

Cool, CA.  DEA agents raided the office and home of Dr. Marion Fry and her attorney husband, Dale Schafer, directors of the California Medical Research Center in El Dorado County, Cal.

The Center provides both medical and legal consultations for over 5,000  Prop. 215 patients in California. According to Schafer, all of the center's patient records were seized, but were sealed by order of a federal magistrate since they contain privileged attorney-client information.

The agents also destroyed 32 marijuana plants that were for personal use by Dr. Fry, who is herself a cancer patient.  Dr. Fry and her 14-year old son were forced to the ground and handcuffed for several hours before being released.

No charges have been filed yet.

This marks the first case in which federal agents have physically raided a physician or medical cannabis center in California.  Other centers have been investigated covertly or attacked through court injunctions.

Many observers had been expecting the raid since the DEA had been investigating a nearby medical marijuana cultivation case linked to former employees and patients of Dr. Fry.

Schafer says agents had been angered to find that the Center was conducting a Prop 215 cultivation class, which was infiltrated by two agents with forged recommendations from Dr. Tod Mikuriya.

El Dorado County narcotics officers told Schafer they would not have raided the center except for federal orders.

"We were trying our best to comply with state law," said Schafer, "if the feds come in, that raises questions of state's rights."

"This is so much bigger than medical marijuana," said Dr. Fry, "The voters of California passed this law by referendum and have every right to expect it would be respected."