Aug. 24th, 2009 – UPPER LAKE, CA: In what are believed to be the first DEA medical
marijuana arrests since President Obama took office, the federal government arrested five Lake County defendants on marijuana charges on Tuesday, August 18th. The arrestees include Tom Carter, a well known local contractor; Scott Feil, former manager of the UMCC medical cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles who has been fighting a federal forfeiture case for several years; Scott’s wife, Diana; and Brett Bassignani and Steven Swanson.

Details of the operation are scanty, other than it appears to have stemmed from a deal arranged by an informant. The DEA seized 154 plants on Carter’s property, which his wife said were covered by valid medical MJ recommendations. Scott Feil’s connection to the case is unclear, other than that he was a neighbor of Carter. Scott and Tom are being held in detention in Oakland. A detention hearing for Scott is scheduled for Tues, Aug. 25th, 9:30 a.m. in Judge Zimmerman’s court at the Federal Bldg in SF: Tom’s hearing will be Wed., Aug 26th.

California NORML denounced the federal government for continuing to interfere in California’s medical marijuana laws. Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government would no longer prosecute marijuana offenses that are legal under state medical marijuana laws. Since then, the DEA has raided two or three dispensaries in San Francisco and L.A., but without making any arrests.

Over 100 medical marijuana defendants have been charged under federal law. “California already has enough federal marijuana criminals,” says Cal NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer, “It’s time for concrete changes in federal law.” So far, the Obama administration has announced no changes in federal laws or regulations, and marijuana-hostile Bush appointees continue to serve at the DEA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Northern California.

See Advocacy group says DEA medical marijuana arrests may be firsts under Obama
Lake County News
Monday, 24 August 2009

Also, DEA conducts Upper Lake raids, make arrests
Lake County News
Saturday, 22 August 2009

In other news, medical marijuana defendant Will Foster lost his Habeus Corpus hearing in Sonoma County, California on Friday. Authorities immediately took him back to Oklahoma, where he will face life imprisonment.

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