Updated at the bottom: The DEA gives us a cryptic response. First posted at 1:02 p.m.
A Northern California pot farm that delivers cannabis all the way to Los Angeles was raided by DEA agents today, according to an announcement from California NORML.
NORML state coordinator Dale Gieringer was outraged and told the Weekly the action has “gotta be” part of a new federal initiative against medical marijuana in California.
He described the target of the raid, Northstone Organics, as being about as legal as compliant a grower as you could wish for under the state's medical marijuana laws:
They have done more than anyone else to try to advance the model of regulated outdoor cultivation.
As Gieringer tells it, Northstone owner Matt Cohen spearheaded a program in Mendocino County to legalize and regulate nonprofit growers who want to have as many as 99 plants on site. The operations require sheriff's inspections and permits.
As such, the NORML leader argues, Cohen has been in the press a lot, perhaps making hin a target for the DEA.
Ironically, he argues, Northstone was trying to do it right: It's hard to fathom, for example, many dispensaries in L.A. proper that abide by the letter of state law, which only allows nonprofit growing among collective members who want to share their weed with others who are seriously ill.
Of course, federal law, which doesn't recognize any legal use for pot, is another matter.
“There are people in this business racking up millions and millions in profits,” Gieringer admits. “Cohen isn't one of them.”
He said that, as we spoke, Cohen was in handcuffs:
To go after him is to strike a blow in favor of the Mexican cartels.
We have a call into the DEA to get its side of the story.
[Update]: DEA Norcal spokeswoman Casey McEnry tells the Weekly, cryptically perhaps, that agents “are not at that location” in Mendocino County but that they are “are in [nearby] Ukiah and all the documents are under seal so I can't comment.”
“Some word's gotten out that we are conducting an enforcement operation in Ukiah,” she said.
Is it related to Northstone?
“I can't give you any details if it's related or not.”