San Diego County Authorities Collude with Federal Agents to Terrorize Citizens

Press Release December 12, 2005
Media Contact

Margaret Dooley at (858) 336 3685 or James May at (916) 202 1636

The Drug Policy Alliance condemns the rogue county and federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego County yesterday as politically motivated by self-serving politicians. The raids follow closely a County Board of Supervisors vote last week to sue the state to strike down Prop 215, the 1996 voter-approved ballot initiative that gives patients in California the right to use marijuana for medical purposes with a doctor’s recommendation. The initiative passed in San Diego County by 52%.

Federal drug enforcement agents, county sheriffs and city police broke down doors and waved guns at medical marijuana patients and dispensary operators yesterday in at least 13 locations in San Diego County, flouting the nearly 10-year-old state law. The seizure of thousands of patient records in the raids also violated patients’ rights to confidentiality.

“The County Board of Supervisors has decided to use taxpayer money to sue the taxpayers. They are out of touch and out of control,” said Margaret Dooley of the Drug Policy Alliance in San Diego. “The raids are just the next step in a systematic effort to deprive patients of their right to medical marijuana in San Diego County.”

“While neighboring Riverside County and other parts of the state are working to implement the necessary regulations on medical marijuana dispensaries,” Ms Dooley continued, “County authorities are colluding with federal agents to act against San Diego constituents and their expressed wishes.”

“The county terrorized patients yesterday,” said Alberto Mendoza, director of the Southern California Office of the Drug Policy Alliance. “One terrible result of the raids will be to force sick and dying patients to buy their medicine on the black market, which can be a dangerous and unreliable alternative.”

The Drug Policy Alliance is the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. The Alliance led the campaign to pass Prop 215 in 1996, has successfully defended medical marijuana patients’ rights in federal court (Conant v. Walters), and has also protected those rights through local initiatives (Prop S in San Francisco) and state legislation (SB 420).

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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