DEA Arrests Medical Marijuana Grower in California


Last week, the Drug War Chronicle reports, the Drug Enforcement Administration made its first arrests related to medical marijuana since Attorney General Eric Holder promised not to prosecute people who are complying with state law. Agents seized 154 plants from Upper Lake, California, construction contractor Tom Carter. Carter is a patient authorized to use marijuana, and his wife told a local newspaper he also was growing marijuana for several other patients, which "primary caregivers" are allowed to do under state law (although the California Supreme Court tightened the definition of primary caregiver last fall). In addition to Carter, the DEA arrested a neighbor, Scott Feil, who used to run a medical marijuana dispensary; Feil's wife; and two other men, Steven Swanson and Brett Bassignani. The government alleges that a DEA informant arranged with Bassignani to buy some of Carter's marijuana, but Carter's attorneys say there's no firm evidence that he knew of or approved the deal. As with this month's DEA-assisted raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles and Culver City (which were followed by state charges against the dispensaries' owner), the details of the Carter case will show whether the DEA is respecting state law, as Holder said it would (and the Constitution requires), or continuing to undermine it.

California NORML has more here.

In some more bad medical marijuana news, Will Foster, who successfully challenged a 93-year sentence for growing cannabis to treat his rheumatoid arthritis, is back in Oklahoma and back in prison as a result of a dispute over the terms of his parole. His latest troubles started when he was arrested for growing marijuana in California, even though he was allowed to do so there as a patient with a doctor's recommendation.

I noted Foster's pending extradition in June. Ed Rosenthal has more here.