Desperate people do desperate things to save their jobs ?

News2 02_5_14 marijuana

DEA Destroyed Medical Cannabis

Santa Fe dispensary had state permission to grow marijuana, but the feds took all its plants after a workplace accident

http://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/article-10736-dea-destroyed-medical-cannabis.html

When federal Drug Enforcement Agency agents visited a Santa Fe medical cannabis dispensary after an explosion last week, they seized what local police originally described as “evidence” for an investigation. SFR has since learned that the federal agency yanked all the marijuana plants that were growing there and hauled them away for destruction. 

Without more information, the seizure seems to be a shift in the understanding that the DEA would turn a blind eye to producers who have permission from a state to cultivate the plant that is still considered a banned substance by the federal government.  

As investigators try to determine more details about what caused the explosion, suspected to have occurred during an extraction process at New MexiCann Natural Medicine’s compound on West San Mateo Lane, attorney Marc Lowry says the management and staff are more concerned about the health and recovery of Nick Montoya, 29, and Aaron Smith, 28, who received third-degree burns and remain hospitalized. 

Yet the loss of the 150 plants—conservatively valued at $750,000—will impact New MexiCann’s fall harvest and ongoing operation.

The US Department of Justice and DEA would not answer questions about why they seized plants during a gas explosion investigation, and a public affairs representative with the US Attorney’s office in New Mexico says they’re prohibited from commenting during an ongoing investigation. 

Lowry says he understands that federal agents are in an impossible position in this case, because federal law still considers all cannabis to be illegal.

“The DEA is in unchartered territory as it tries to reconcile federal policy with state-run programs,” says Lowry.  “Historically the DEA has always confiscated contraband, and under federal law all cannabis is contraband, medical or not.”

A spokesman for the New Mexico Department of Health was out of his office Friday and did not respond to SFR’s inquiry about the DEA’s seizure of medicine from a state-licensed program.

In the meantime, SFR has also learned inspectors from the city’s fire marshal office visited New MexiCann’s facility after the producer filed a certificate of occupancy, but Fire Marshal Rey Gonzales Jr. says the gas extraction equipment was not in place during his team’s original site visit.

Gonzales says businesses are required to request a new inspection if the use of a space changes. For now, Gonzales’ staff is reviewing hazardous material regulations in the city’s fire code to determine if New MexiCann violated any regulations.

Meanwhile, Lowry says that Len Goodman, the founder of New MexiCann, is engaged in open dialog with all law enforcement and government agencies and is waiting to get a green light after the investigations are concluded before reopening his Santa Fe location. 

Other state-licensed producers tell SFR they’re in discussions and plan to provide New MexiCann new plants so Goodman’s patients have a consistent supply of medication and he’s set back up in time to plant a new winter crop.

“The timing of this accident is bad. It hurts everybody,” says Rachael Speegle, director of operations at Verdes Foundation, an Albuquerque-area dispensary. 

Speegle, who is also a registered nurse with experience in public health policy, says the conflict between federal and state laws needs to be worked out.  

“It’s impossible to operate in this country when we still have this divide between the two regulatory bodies,” she says.

Earlier this year, Speegle helped potential new growers apply for producer licenses. She says many of the new groups have been calling her with concerns about the DEA seizure. 

“They want to know if they should invest money in this business because federal agents can seize plants at their whim,” she adds. 

R. Greenleaf Organics founder Willie Ford says everyone should be concerned about the seizure, but he claims he understands the DEA’s action. 

“It’s in their DNA,” says Ford. “These guys are just doing their jobs. They’re required to investigate gas explosions, and when they see all the plants, they have to take them.” 

2 Responses

  1. One more example of a CRIMINAL rogue agency that thinks it doesn’t have to answer to anyone. One more example of how far we are removed from a govt of, by, and FOR the people.

    Lowry says he understands that federal agents are in an impossible position in this case, because federal law still considers all cannabis to be illegal.
    “The DEA is in unchartered territory as it tries to reconcile federal policy with state-run programs,” says Lowry. “Historically the DEA has always confiscated contraband, and under federal law all cannabis is contraband, medical or not.”

    Way to cowtow to fascist oppression Mr Lowry. If you were representing my interests (and by default other citizens of NM) I would fire you issuing a statement like that.

    Actually they are NOT in an impossible position at all. US Congress SUPPOSEDLY DEFUNDED DEA operations against MMJ but DEA just ignored the directive due to ‘misinterpretation’. All the testimony offered up by dozens of Congressmen LIVE on CSPAN and currently now for posterity on Youtube for anyone to see makes a ‘misinterpretation’ argument a bit hard to swallow.
    Even the President of the United States said it wasn’t the aim of the Fed Govt to interfere w/ MMJ!!

    I mean how much more do they need to reign themselves in. NONE. It has been proven time and again that they are incapable of reigning themselves in. SO,I think it is long past due for some accountability in not only the DEA but ALL Federal Agencies. When they break existing law and violate citizens civil rights they need to be indicted CRIMINALLY. All this litigation for the possibility of gaining a monetary reward to offset their criminality is BS. It is not a deterrent because, again, it is TAXPAYER FUNDED so it offers NO incentive to respect citizens. There M.O. seems to me to be one of pushing the boundaries of law, regulations, guidelines, morality, Constitutionality, and human decency until that particular action is stopped IN COURT. This is not what Federal agencies are for. I am curious how many DEA agents have EVER been fired, let alone charged with a crime.
    The states can and should be able to handle any laws regarding illicit drugs. As far a legal drugs go, the FDA and the State regulatory agencies are more than up to the task and if not one can be established. The fact that agents could keep their jobs despite accepting gifts, (prostitutes of human trafficking no less) from a criminal drug organization/Cartel should have sounded the death knell of this corrupt bloated, and useless organization. Its continual lies, deceit, cover-ups, murders, and graft is unacceptable!

    DEA is one dinosaur that has outlived its epoch.
    Never one to support euthanasia, this is one wild animal that needs to be put down. It has proven time and again it is just as much a menace to society as those it goes up against.

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