Federal Agents Shut Down Los Angeles Medical Marijuana Cooperative
Thirty federal drug enforcement agents on Thursday raided the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center, an organization that supplied marijuana to people with chronic health problems including HIV, "uprooting" 400 marijuana plants, removing growing equipment and seizing computer files that contained the names and medical records of the center's 960 clients, the Los Angeles Times reports. The raid was "not a total surprise," according to the center's operators. They expected to be shut down after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled five months ago in a 8-0 decision that marijuana -- even for medicinal purposes -- was illegal, effectively "invalidat[ing]" California's Proposition 215, a voter initiative that approved the sale of small amounts of the drug for medicinal purposes. The Drug Enforcement Administration cited the Supreme Court decision in its search warrant, saying that "illegal conduct permeates the organization's activities and that all documents, records and equipment present at the site constitute fruits, instrumentalities or evidence of federal criminal offenses." The raid has left many with HIV without a legal alternative source for marijuana, which some patients claim helps stimulate their appetite and relieve pain. "I truly believe marijuana saved my life. Panic went through my mind when I heard about the raid. There are no alternatives for me," Mary Lucey, a governmental policy analyst who has been living with HIV for 15 years, said, adding "I don't want to find a drug dealer. That's not a useful environment to be in." Center President Scott Imler told clients Monday to "call your congressman, call your doctor" and help the center stage a protest on Nov. 6, what would have been the center's fifth anniversary (Pool, Los Angeles Times, 10/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.