Agents Raid Medical Marijuana Farm
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SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) _ Federal agents raided a marijuana farm Thursday and arrested the owners, who helped write the state law legalizing medical use of the plants.
Officers seized more than 100 marijuana plants, three rifles and a shotgun, said Richard Meyer, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration in San Francisco.
Valerie and Michael Corral were arrested on federal charges of intent to distribute marijuana and conspiracy, he said. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney could not determine Thursday afternoon whether formal charges had been filed.
``These are incredibly compassionate people who’ve worked closely with law enforcement to help the sick and dying in our community,″ said Ben Rice, an attorney for the Corrals. ``This is absolutely outrageous.″
The Corrals helped write the 1996 law that allows patients and their caregivers to grow marijuana for their own medicine. They work with local authorities to dispense their pot to people with doctors’ recommendations to use marijuana.
The raid surprised local medical marijuana growers and advocates, as well as the Santa Cruz County sheriff.
The farm about 15 miles north of Santa Cruz is known to local law enforcement, which have complied with state law rather than federal drug laws, said sheriff’s spokesman Kim Allyn.
``The DEA didn’t tell us they did this, not before, and not after,″ he said.
DEA agents have recently cracked down on high-profile medical marijuana advocates and distribution clubs and bypassed local law enforcement agencies that have condoned them.
Andrea Tischler, owner of the Compassion Flower Inn, where guests with doctors recommendations are allowed to use medical marijuana, said she was outraged.
``We’re absolutely shocked that the DEA would step in like this at harvest time when so many patients would be able to benefit from this medication,″ she said. ``This is the one crop of the year they were growing.″