June 23, 2005

The federal medical marijuana crackdown.

The NYT reports:
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.

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.
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.


goesh said...

Yes, the war against reefer madness rages on. I like to call it for the sake of convenience, Ruth's war. Money spent combatting this dreaded disease could be better spent I think cleaning up the toxic mess left behind by meth labs. Perhaps some of the dope fiends who have cancer could just be ignored by the Federal Government and allowed to continue on with their puffing.

Alcibiades said...

This federal attitude strikes me as ludicrous. Even more ludicrous in light of research like this.

Hashish not only gets people high; it can bring cancer low. Derivatives of the cannabis plant from which hashish is produced have been shown by a Hebrew University doctoral student to be effective in halting the growth of tumors in laboratory and animal tests. For her work, Natalya Kogan was one of the winners of a Kaye Innovation Award, presented during the recent 68th meeting of the HU board of governors.

Working under the supervision of Prof. Raphael Mechoulam at the Hebrew University School of Pharmacy (in collaboration with Prof. Michael Schlesinger at The Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School and Prof. Ester Priel at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev), Kogan has developed new compounds “known as quinonoid cannabinoids“ that parallel in their activity a group of anti-cancer drugs, the best known of which is daunomycin. But while daunomycin is toxic to the heart, Kogan, with Dr. Ronen Beeri and Dr. Gergana Marincheva of Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem, found that the quinonoid cannabinoids are much less cardiotoxic. The development of quinonoid compounds that display anticancer activity but are less toxic is a major therapeutic goal. Kogan is now continuing to investigate the mechanism of action of these promising compounds.