Agents descended on the property of Joy Greenfield with guns drawn,
tore out the plants and took Greenfield's computer and cash.
July 12, 2010
By Steve Elliott
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has flouted Mendocino
County, California's newly enacted medical marijuana ordinance by
raiding the first collective that had applied to the sheriff's
cultivation permit program.
A multi-agency federal task force descended on the property of Joy
Greenfield, the first Mendo patient to pay the $1,050 application fee
under the ordinance, which allows collectives to grow up to 99 plants
provided they comply with certain regulations.
Greenfield had applied in the name of her collective, "Light The
Way," which opened in San Diego earlier this year. Her property had
passed a preliminary inspection by the Mendo sheriff's deputies
shortly before the raid, and she had bought the sheriff's "zip-ties"
intended to designate her cannabis plants as legal.
In the days before the raid, Greenfield had seen a helicopter
hovering over her property; she inquired with the sheriff, who told
her the copter belonged to the DEA and wasn't under his control.
The agents invaded her property with guns drawn, tore out the
collective's 99 plants and took Greenfield's computer and cash.
Joy was not at home during the raid, but spoke on the phone to the
DEA agent in charge. When she told he she was a legal grower under
the sheriff's program, the agent replied, "I don't care what the sheriff says."
When she returned to her house she found it in disarray with soda
cans strewn on the floor. "It was just a mess," she said. "No one
should be able to tear your house apart like that."
Greenfield called the raid a "slap in the face of Mendocino's government."
The DEA has been tight-lipped about the raid, but claims it was part
of a larger investigation involving other suspects.
"Here Mendo is trying to step out in front by passing this ordinance,
and what do the Feds do but raid the first applicant," said
Greenfield's attorney, Bob Boyd of Ukiah.
"The DEA is stepping all over local authorities trying to tax and
regulate," Boyd said.
Neither Boyd nor other locals believe that the sheriff tipped off the
DEA or gave them any information about permit applicants.
Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman confirmed Friday that the
property owner had the proper paperwork and the marijuana was legal
in the eyes of the county.
"This was a federal operation and had nothing to do with local law
enforcement," Allman said. "The federal government made a decision to
go ahead and eradicate it."
Sheriff Allman has been highly supportive of efforts to bring local
growers into the permit program. Nonetheless, observers fear the raid
will have a chilling effect on medical cultivators, possibly causing
supply problems for local patients.
"This raid is clear evidence that the DEA is out of control," said
California NORML director Dale Gieringer. "A change in federal law is
"In the meantime, the DEA needs a new director who will enforce
Attorney General Holder's pledge not to interfere in state medical
marijuana laws," Gierigner said.
The DEA is currently directed by Michele Leonhart, a Bush
Administration holdover who has presided over numerous medical
marijuana raids, and has obstructed research efforts to develop
marijuana for medicine.
President Obama has renominated Leonhart to head the agency a move
strongly opposed by drug reformers, who are calling on the
administration to honor its pledge of change.