Edmund G. Brown, Jr. (Jerry) Medical Marijuana The Feds

Medical Marijuana—the AG Separates the Clinics from the Crooks


From time to time here, I’ve taken issue with the DEA’s 100-agent raids
on LA County’s medical marijuana clinics, raids that have used big piles of our tax dollars to harass clinic owners and patients, resulted in few arrests, and in most cases, exactly zero charges.

(Earlier stories are here and here and here.)

Medical marijuana is legal in this state and, unless there is blatant wrong-doing (meaning guys using the clinics as fronts to make big bucks in bulk trafficking), the Feds need to butt out and use their time—not to mention our valuable tax dollars—to shut down some crystal meth dealers instead. (In the past, I’ve offered to point out a few meth-dealing locations, but DEA spokesperson Sarah Pullen, the LA person who has the job of deal with us snarky press types, declined to take me up on it.)

Which brings me to today’s story. Today the California Attorney General’s Office announced that on Friday, the state’s drug enforcers, the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement or BNE—along with a multi-agency task force—raided a single marijuana clinic in Northridge called Today’s Healthcare and caught the owner and his colleague red handed (or green handed, in this case) buying and selling $18 grand worth of weed, with a like amount stashed in one of the men’s vehicles, and another $6.6 million worth of plants found when warrants were served on the guys’ houses.

According to Brown’s office, in order to make Friday’s bust, 11 agents were involved —as opposed to the DEA’s 100-agent cluster…uh…thingy.

The raids and the arrests were the result of an six-month investigation by the same multi-agency task force.

(Interesting random fact: Established in 1927, BNE is the oldest narcotic enforcement bureau in the United States.)

“This criminal enterprise bears no resemblance to the purposes of Proposition 215, which authorized the use of medical marijuana for seriously sick patients,” said AG Jerry Brown in today’s announcement. “Today’s Healthcare is a large-scale, for-profit, commercial business. This deceptively named drug ring is reaping huge profits and flaunting the state’s laws that allow qualified patients to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.”

In other words, unlike the Feds, California’s BNE and the AG’s office did it right. They went after the blatant drug dealers while respecting state law and the will of the California voters.


UPDATE: Monday afternoon, Brown’s office also announced a set of “guidelines” for law enforcement and patients regarding med marijuana.

Oddly, this is the first time that any state agency has issued such guidelines, and both cops and advocates said they welcomed the legal clarification.


Note: the photo of the BNE guys is a snapshot I snatched from the InterMountain News of another BNE raid, but not Friday’s drug raid.


  • ‘If you’re the police where are your badges?’

    ‘Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!’

    The Treasure of the Sierra Madre with Humphrey Bogart.

    “If you are the police, where are your badges? Let’s see them.”

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

  • Another great quote from TTofTSM is from the wonderful Walter Huston, who while in the Oso Negro flop house was questioned why if he knew so much about prospecting he was just a down and outer like everyone else in the Oso Negro.

    “It’s the gold, yea it’s the gold that did it to me, you pray to the lord and say please GOd if you just let me strike it rich this one time I’ll never ask for anything else again,
    but as soon as you make a strike you gamble it away trying for a bigger strike.
    It’s the gold”

    In Celeste’s post maybe it’s what the Feds are Saying too!
    “It’s the gold, the Acapulco gold!”

  • Celeste, I bet that you’ve gotten a minor traffic ticket in the past and asked why the policeman wasn’t out catching “real criminals.”

    Regarding badges, once a lady from the FBI came to our office floor looking for a former tenant who brokered some bad steel used in military fighters. We wouldn’t talk to her until she showed us her identification AND her gun. I didn’t know how the FBI ID should look, but I could tell a real gun by looking at it.

  • I guess we should all compliment ourselves on our great quotes and comments.

    In case you didn’t know I am fantastic, fascinating, intellectual, insightful, inspiring and a marvel for all on the Internet to behold.

    Many thanks to my abuelita for raising me to become a modest, humble, unpretentious, unostentatious genius who will share his wisdom with you……the common man.

  • Thanks much for touching on the Medical Marijuana issue in our State.
    I myself have secured a prescription for the herb from my new Dr. He instantly recognized the nervous twitch and the crusty dried saliva around my lips, and the fact that I’d lost a substantial amt. of weight as a sure sign I’d contracted a case of “Quixotephobia”.. It’s often derived from reading the vapid, repetitious and rambling comments from one don quixote. They so often stray from subject matter (as you might witness here on this thread) and then recede into a sort of self gratification that makes the reader uncomfortable with its imposed familiarity. His “clever quips” are pitifully dated, and quite often plainly untrue, but ramble he will like one of Hitler’s addresses to the Reichstag.

    My physician insists I cease reading anymore drivvel from this charlatan, but I find myself unable to stop. The writer is a pure and simple case of neuroses intermingled with poor self-image and the resultant gestating psychoses. I’ve followed his antics for yrs. now from blog to blog, watching as he eventually implodes the blog or disillusions the host to the point of moderation.

    Thank God finally I’ve found a Dr. who realizes that such a voyeuristic malady can be enhanced by the addition of a good dose of Diesel Chronic.

  • Hey, Don Quixote is a friend of mine whom I respect. I don’t appreciate cro-magnum’s (August 25th, 2008 at 3:51 pm) sitting at the keyboard and embezzling, filching, and appropriating my name.
    This demented and unbalanced half wit should take his own advice and ditch the Diesel Chronic and Sterno.

    PS. Morphine, with a Demerol chaser. – Bela Lugosi

  • Travis Tea, thanks it’s at the top of my list of all time movies and anyone who quotes from it is a friend of mine.

    As the three men walk closer to the stranger with thier guns drawn, the stranger replies “so I guess it’s number three then”


  • I am the one true Santiago and I abhor that clown don quixote. As for your accusing me of Cro Magnon roots I will demur as my people are of European extraction and most likely progressed through the accepted stages of evolution. I must deduce that you sir are more akin to the Neanderthal bent as is obviated by your lack of any creative output other than the occasional grunt and belch.
    So run along impersonator and hawk your wares at a more friendly and appropriate venue that will welcome your views. How about the GOP Convention?

  • I’m flat tired of this impersonator besmirching my good name all over the Web. His multi-personalities have proven to be the bane of good interchange here and at many other sites. It is his mission to confuse and muddy what should be crystal clear.

  • Here’s the deal: since I can look behind the curtain at distinguishing IP and provider information, city of origin, and so on, I can tell you that—-unless one of you all is a brilliant and very determined hacker with a lot of time on his/her hands—Travis T., Don Quixote and #1 Santiago are three different people. Period.

    So, Santiago #1, can we please give it a rest? This nonsense has taken over several threads and it’s trying my patience.

    PS: I followed the links from days ago to In the Hat and read the referenced comments. Okay? I get it.

    But that is then and this is now. Bringing fights here that occurred on other blogs is getting on my last nerve. Seriously.

    Fair warning.

  • What a supercilious bunch of wankers! Silly me, imagining that going to the comments section on this very informative piece I might actually read some opinions or remarks pertaining to medical marijuana.

    I do have to say that Witness’s attitude is not thought out in this important regard: Why is it fine & dandy for pharmeceutical companies to be billion-dollar multinationals who create & ruthlessly market questionably necessary &/or effective drugs to the populace without very much oversight at all anymore, but if some MM dealers/growers in CA start thinking big it’s suddenly hypocritcal & immoral?

    Just sayin’.

  • Hey, Dacalicious,


    About the marijuana issue, I recommend you click on some of the links to my three previous posts here, and my LA Weekly article on med marijuana.

    If it was up to me, I’d legalize it yesterday. But since large scale weed dealing is not legal in this state, it’s not helpful to the medical marijuana cause to wink at the guys selling $18,000 worth of bud out the back door, and growing several million dollars worth in the spare bedroom.

    One of my journalism students did an excellent piece about medical marijuana that centered around the case of a young guy who is now in law school who is suffering from a rare, painful and dangerous blood-related digestive disorder. For a long time, when things got really bad for the guy, there were only two things that would lessen the pain: steroids, or an opiate—specifically Oxycontin.

    But the steroids caused the tall, skinny student not to be able to eat, and taking them for a weeks one end, caused depression, paranoia, and anxiety.

    As for Oxycontin, well….as you know, it doesn’t get much more addictive than Oxycontin.

    Then somebody told the guy that marijuana might work for this condition.

    He tries not to smoke unless he has to because it interferes with his studying.

    But on pot he can eat and he can function and he can have some kind of normal life. So do I think it’s a better idea than killer steroids or wildly addictive Oxycontin for people with his condition or Crohn’s disease or other digestive disorders or the myriad of other conditions that weed helps?

    And do I think the whole pharmaceutical situation in this country is absurdly hypocritical? Of course.

    But this story is about comparing one law enforcement approach with another. I didn’t attempt an overview.

    But thanks for bringing up the subject. I’m tired of having our prisons full of nonviolent drug offenders.

  • I just wanna say that my mother-in-law has been fighting cancer (successfully, knock on wood) and she’s been using a smokeless hooka-thing I picked up for her on (of course) Telegraph Avenue to smoke weed (given a sense her propriety and to avoid embarrassment she never refers to it except as “that other stuff”) rather than take some of the pills they’ve given her to deal with radiation side-effects that have their own suite of side-effects that make her feel lousy. It’s been a god-send. She’s also regained her appetite, since she was losing weight.

    The DEA are monsters for trying to stamp out access. This should be a states-rights issue. If Jerry can keep it on track against blatant abuse, good for him. Others should butt out.

  • As a child I remember the aroma of a special green powder my grandmother would burn to relieve her bouts with asthma, prescribed by her doctor of course. Years later I experienced déjà vu when the aroma of burning marijuana entered my nostrils, which made me question if my grandmother was prescribed a form of marijuana years earlier?

    If a user of medical marijuana must have a prescription to purchase the herb, why isn’t it dispensed from a pharmacy, I ask?

  • Ms. Fremon: Thank you for the response — you are right, of course, in that winking & skirting the law doesn’t help the ultimate cause of real legalization, & in fact gives opponents some fairly righteous ammunition.

    I will admit, as someone who has worked in more than one dispensary, I was less than charmed by the hypocrisy of some — not all, but definitely quite a few — of the dispensary owners I worked for &/or met. Truth is, some of them are indeed nothing but street-corner drug dealers who merely saw a loophole to exploit, & their actual concern for the significant population of truly sick patients they serve is cosmetic at best –, the in-store marketing of premium strains at whatever price the market will bear that week is only one example. To be anecdotal about it: I was not happy when I had to serve, at one West Hollywood dispensary, not only a rich TV producer but his spoiled teenage daughter & her friend, both of whom had their scripts with Daddy’s blessing, & who cadged extra hundred-dollar bills on the spot from the one’s eye-rolling, Rolex-wearing Pop so they could pick up a selection of cannabis-infused lollipops along with their eighths of “Beverly Hills Kush.” Seriously.

    But there are many dispensary owners who truly believe they’re fighting the good fight, who stay open late when cancer patients from 50 miles away drive down because their home counties have harassed their local caregivers out of existence, & who keep a generous supply of decent MM on hand gratis for seriously ill patients who can’t afford pain relief, & I truly admire their sort.

    Of course, the whole matter gets a little hazy (no pun intended, sorry) when you ruminate on a question such as: Should medicinal marijuana be a legitimate substitute for Prozac? I think one of big Pharma’s most outright evil tactics is sedating the population with unnecessarily strong & often harmful prescription drugs for anxiety, mild to medium depression, etc. My own experience ten years ago with cavalierly prescribed Prozac was a literal nightmare. Things seem only worse now; the juxtaposition on tv of hysterical anti-marijuana “public service” spots with those genuinely creepy, propagandistic advertisements for an ever-evolving devil’s cabinet of oh-so “helpful” mind-numbing sedative compounds is indeed the kind of thing that sends one running for the bong …

    Anyway, not to be sappy but despite my slightly challenging tone in the original post, I do love this site; it has become absolutely essential reading for me, especially in these sad days when the L.A. print media seems to be dismantled or dumbed-down a little bit more with each passing week. Keep up the outstanding work, please!

  • “why isn’t it dispensed from a pharmacy”

    My assumption is that this is a gray area of the law, i.e. state vs. feds, and enforcement that pharmacists don’t want to touch.

  • The events of the past few days in eygpt bring to light how corrupt any and all current government bodies can be. And it really is a shame. We entrust these leaders with our trust that they will do what is right for the people that put them in the position of power and they abuse it, often times rather blatantly. I applaud the eyptian people for standing up for themselves. it is my hope that the people will be heard & that the current government will do the right thing (stepping down if need be). But I also hope that whatever leadership takes control will be one that truly will workon behalf of the eyptian people.

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