SAN DIEGO --- Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nationwide patients' rights advocacy organization, received reports?Wednesday of several medical marijuana raids in the San Diego area by federal and local law enforcement. The raids by the San Diego Police Department (SDPD), the San Diego Sheriff's Department, with the support of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), occurred only a day after the San Diego City Council voted 6-1 to implement a medical marijuana task force to help the city draft local laws.
"Not only does the federal government have no place helping to enforce state and local medical marijuana laws," said ASA California Director Don Duncan. "Local officials must regulate medical marijuana and enforce those laws with civil actions, not with the barrel of a gun." According to local media, the raids were part of an ongoing investigation involving San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a notorious opponent of medical marijuana. "It is incumbent on District Attorney Dumanis to help pass local regulations in San Diego not to aggressively undermine safe access to medical marijuana," continued Duncan.
Law enforcement was reported handcuffing and detaining several people on the scene of more than a half dozen raids. In typical fashion for such raids, medical marijuana, cash and other property has been seized. No violations have been alleged at this time. For years, safe access to medical marijuana in San Diego has been resisted by local officials, repeatedly calling on the federal government to conduct raids. In 2007 and 2008, continued federal and local raids forced the closure of more than 20 medical marijuana dispensing collectives. However, after the California Attorney General issued medical marijuana guidelines in August 2008, recognizing the legality of dispensing collectives, medical marijuana providers began operating again in San Diego.
Two weeks ago, the California Senate voted 23-15 on a resolution urging the federal government to end medical marijuana raids and to "create a comprehensive federal medical marijuana policy that ensures safe and legal access to any patient that would benefit from it." Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 14, introduced in June by State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) seeks to keep local enforcement in the hands of local officials and calls on Congress and the President to move forward with a new federal policy on medical marijuana.
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Despite a presidential campaign promise made by Barack Obama, that he will not "be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws," federal raids have continued under his Administration. "It's of utmost importance that the Obama Administration give deference to local officials to implement local and state medical marijuana laws," continued Duncan.
Senate Joint Resolution on medical marijuana:
ASA fact sheet on SJR 14: