Pot Busts Not Leading To Arrests, Just 'Harassment'

“We have no rights.”

No arrests, no records seized.

“Harassment” is what some members of the medical marijuana industry are calling three Drug Enforcement Agency-led raids that took place yesterday.

R Side Medical at 31760 Casino Drive in Lake Elsinore and Compassionate Patients Association at 17504 Grand Avenue in Lakeland Village were both targeted by law enforcement Wednesday at approximately 8 a.m.

In conjunction with the Grand Avenue bust, a search warrant was also served to a home just outside Temecula.

In all three investigations, marijuana was seized from the locations, and surveillance cameras and alarms were cut off at the Lake Elsinore and Lakeland Village locations, but there were no arrests made, no records seized, and no computers taken, according to and Compassionate Patients Association head Ernest Acosta.

Acosta's home was the third location raided yesterday.

Drug Enforcement Agency spokeswoman Sarah Pullen confirmed no arrests have been made as a result of Wednesday's raids, but marijuana was seized. At Compassionate Patients Association, 167 marijuana plants, 10.7 kilos of processed marijuana and 125 kilos of marijuana-laced edibles were seized; at Acosta's residence, 201 grams of marijuana were taken, she said.

At R Side Medical, 45 marijuana plants, 2.3 kilograms of processed marijuana and 41.2 kilograms of marijuana-laced edibles were seized, Pullen said.

Wednesday’s incidents aren’t unusual these days. Over recent months, law enforcement has worked to shutter medical marijuana operations countywide. Lthat also saw a federal search warrant served at Cooperative Patients' Services located at 43122 Via Dos Picos in Temecula.

The two facilities were founded by Doug Lanphere, who said he stepped down in June 2011 as an active director of the 3,000-member medical marijuana cooperative.

While marijuana was taken from the two facilities last month by law enforcement, Lanphere was never arrested.

Commenting today about the R Side Medical and Compassionate Patients Association raids, Lanphere said, “We have no rights.”

Medical marijuana operators and local law enforcement have been walking a fine line when it comes pot. Under California’s medical marijuana law, cannabis is legal when Ts are crossed and Is are dotted. All those interviewed for this article insist they have followed the letter of state law.

However, as a federal agency, the DEA doesn’t recognize California’s law: Marijuana is illegal under federal law.

The legal conflict has given cities and counties leeway in shutting down medical marijuana operations. , which confirmed that local jurisdictions can ban medical marijuana operations, has given authorities even more momentum, and a sweeping effort to shutter m

In the meantime but it will likely be years before rulings are issued.

Currently, under county code, marijuana “storefronts” or dispensaries are banned from operation. Otherwise, the county code follows state law in that cannabis can be used for medical purposes under strict guidelines. Many of the city ordinances follow the county code.

The recent raids are “very disconcerting” for Acosta, who said he had been operating Compassionate Patients Association for nearly two years.

He said he has an attorney and together they are reviewing next steps.

“My first priority now is to reach out to my members,” he said, noting that of his 2,000-person membership, he is very concerned about those who are terminally ill and/or rely on cannabis to ease pain.

“I want to make sure they get their medication and I am looking at alternate distributors for them,” he said.

For Carlos Stahl, he said he is not giving up the fight. Wednesday’s search was the sixth raid he has experienced, he said.

A Purple Heart Vietnam Veteran who claims he doesn’t have a criminal record – a statement backed up by Riverside County court records – Stahl said, “I am a Marine. I fought for this country. I will continue the fight for what is right.”

Stahl believes law enforcement is blatantly disregarding what California voters have put in place. He said police are using fear and intimidation tactics – instead of the courts – to eradicate what he believes is a legal industry under state law.

“When we have to fear the police, there’s something wrong in this country,” he said.

Stahl said he has talked to his lawyer about fighting to get his seized property returned but was advised the battle would be too costly.

“It’s all a game,” Stahl said. “They (police) are the ones breaking the law.”

Jonathan Reese April 30, 2012 at 04:07 AM
What are you talking about... don't you drive around and see those homeless guys begging for change? they need money cuz they can't find a job cuz there are no jobs! here's argumentative: THC cures cancer. idiot. if we didn't have so many restricting laws scientist's could actually develop a medical pill that would literally cause cancer to kill itself. Also, were cutting down acres of rain forests which take hundreds and hundreds of years to grow back... while hemp(marijuana) is a much more durable and less costly alternative and can be replaced every three to four months! you sir are on my list of biggest self-righteous dumb donkeys. You and obama should go have a tea-party with your stuffed animals. :D!
Jonathan Reese April 30, 2012 at 04:07 AM
you sir deserve a milkshake :D!
Jonathan Reese April 30, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Gosh, poison ivy? that is just absolutely retarded... you have no real information to comeback with. Nicole richie is an idiot.. thats why she was driving the wrong way. is that your only excuse? haha read the article she was on VICODIN!!! NOT JUST MARIJUANA. If you did your research you'd find out that marijuana has been known to suppress the effects of other drugs... which means you have to take more of the other drug to even feel it... she was completely retarded on Vicodin that's why she drove the wrong way... i seriously hate you sooooo much right now.
Jonathan Reese April 30, 2012 at 04:28 AM
mmmk soo.. i did my reasearch..The U.S. federal government spent over $15 billion dollars in 2010 on the War on Drugs, at a rate of about $500 per second.... its no different this year.. its only april and weve wasted 13 billion+. 12 billion is wasted just on pot not counting all the other drugs. half a million were arrested just for cannabis. Since December 31, 1995, the U.S. prison population has grown an average of 43,266 inmates per year. About 25 per cent are sentenced for drug law violations. if cannabis was legal and taxed it would create a constant yearly revenue of almost 20 billion dollars a year... paying for the war on drugs we actually need to keep out of our lives...and creating 5 billion more on top of it. in short... Thc is amazing, it cures cancer, it cures Alzheimer, it relieves schizophrenia(it doesn't cause it). everyone should try it just once. "smoke a blunt and see if your worries don't just lift away." stress is a killer and weed stops stress. just don't abuse it. People abuse alcohol, just like they abuse everything else... you can be addicted to caffine! don't drink coffee every morning because that is caffine abuse.. you wouldn't drink a beer every morning would you? maybe you would cuz you are an alcoholic... sorry for my rant.
Jonathan Reese April 30, 2012 at 04:29 AM
your a douche


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »