DEA Raids 11 Los Angeles Cannabis Clubs

January 17, 2007. The DEA raided eleven Los Angeles area medical marijuana dispensaries, confiscating medicine and cash but making no arrests. Local officials were surprised by the operation, which, unlikely numerous other recent DEA raids, were not planned in cooperation with local law enforcement.

Five of the raided facilities were in West Hollywood, where they had been operating in accordance with a local ordinance regulating cannabis dispensaries.

West Hollywood city officials denounced the raids. "Today's actions again demonstrate the skewed priorities of the Bush administration and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration," said City Councilmember Jeffrey Prang.

The other raided dispensaries were in Los Angeles: four in the Valley, one in Hollywood and one in Venice. Los Angeles city councilors had already announced their intent to enact an ordinance regulating clubs in the city. Medical marijuana groups support the idea of an ordinance, saying that marijuana should be treated like other legal businesses.

California NORML described the raids as a disturbing departure from recent practice, since they were not made in consultation with local police. Since 2004, the majority of DEA medical marijuana busts have come at the behest of local law enforcement ( List of DEA busts).

Greater LA currently has around 150 cannabis clubs. Unlike the city, the county has an ordinance specifically regulating dispensaries. LA Police Chief William Bratton has backed a moratorium on new clubs, saying that he supports medical marijuana, but that most of the clubs are catering to recreational users. Unlike the DEA, the LAPD only targets those that are causing a problem in the neighborhood.

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