Federal agents executed search warrants at three medical marijuana dispensaries on Wednesday as part of a broad investigation into marijuana trafficking in San Francisco, setting off fears among medical marijuana advocates that a federal crackdown on the drug's use by sick people was beginning.These actions come two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the extension of federal power even to marijuana grown by the user and authorized under a state law that attempted to legalize and regulate the medicinal use of marijuana. The federal crackdown we're seeing here is not targetting the homegrowing home-users like the plaintiffs in the Raich case.
About 20 residences, businesses and growing sites were also searched, leading to multiple arrests, a law enforcement official said. Agents outside a club in the Ingleside neighborhood spent much of the afternoon dragging scores of leafy marijuana plants into an alley and stuffing them into plastic bags.
"The investigation led the authorities to these sites," the law enforcement official said. "It involves large-scale marijuana trafficking and includes other illicit drugs and money laundering."
In a separate investigation, a federal grand jury in Sacramento indicted a doctor and her husband on charges of distributing marijuana at the doctor's office in Cool, a small town in El Dorado County.
The doctor, Marion P. Fry, and her husband, Dale C. Schafer, were arrested at their home in nearby Greenwood and pleaded not guilty in federal court in Sacramento to charges of distributing and manufacturing at least 100 marijuana plants. The authorities said in a court document that Dr. Fry wrote a recommendation for medical marijuana to an undercover agent from the Drug Enforcement Administration even though there was a "lack of a medical record," and that her husband provided the agent with marijuana.
June 23, 2005
The NYT reports: