Sunday, November 25, 2007

Newshawk: The Source for Medicinal Marijuana News

Pubdate: Sat, 24 Nov 2007

Source: Long Beach Press-Telegram (CA)

Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Newspaper Group




Author: Tracy Manzer, Staff writer



Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)




Agents Say They're Probing Businesses


LONG BEACH - Tuesday's raid at a local medical marijuana clinic was 

the first of its kind for Long Beach, but it may not be the last, 

according to federal authorities.


Federal agents served the search warrant at Long Beach Compassionate 

Cooperative, 342 E. Fourth St., at about 11 a.m. Tuesday, seizing 33 

kilos of dried marijuana and about $10,000 cash, said Special Agent 

Jose Martinez, a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement 

Administration's Los Angeles Field Division.


Agents also arrested a man listed as the dispensary's operator, Martinez said.


He was identified Friday as Samuel Matthew Fata.


Fata was booked on a charge of possession of narcotics for 

distribution and released the same day, Martinez said.


Control of the dispensary was turned back to the operator once the 

search warrant was executed, the agent said.


Since the search warrant, however, the dispensary's doors have 

remained locked and a sign reading "closed indefinitely," hangs in 

the front of the business.


Tuesday's raid was the first of its kind in Long Beach since the 1996 

passage of state Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act that 

legalized marijuana for patients with debilitating and terminal 

medical conditions.


Although state laws authorize the distribution of medical marijuana 

in certain circumstances, federal law still prohibits distribution of 

the drug for any purpose, Martinez explained.


Letters were sent to the property owners who lease space to all the 

dispensaries in the city a few months ago. In the letters, property 

owners were told illegal business was being conducted in the 

locations and must cease immediately, Martinez said.


Rumors were sparked by the warrant earlier in the week with several 

supporters of the medical marijuana initiative questioning the timing 

of the warrant and the selection of just one location.


"It's a very tedious process," Martinez said, adding that the agency 

has only a few agents to cover the entire Los Angeles County region.


Martinez said the warrant at the L.B.C.C. dispensary was the first 

for the area, but it will not be the last if any other dispensaries remain.


"We'll follow up on every location served (with notice)," Martinez promised.


Although the city does not allow business licenses for medical 

marijuana dispensaries, police officials recently identified 11 

dispensaries they said are operating throughout Long Beach. 


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