Agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration raided a San Francisco marijuana dispensary yesterday, apparently flying against strong headwinds coming from Washington, D.C., where Attorney General Eric Holder recently indicated a drawback of federal marijuana enforcement efforts.
At about the same time that we were finishing up our story — on Cal Law today — about how those coming policy shifts may play out soon in two California cases, DEA agents began removing marijuana by the bin-load from Emmalyn’s California Cannabis Club in the city’s South of Market district.
Emmalyn’s gave out pot for free to “poor people” on Wednesdays, according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, a practice that strikes us as a sure-fire way to attract the feds’ attention. But Chronicle reporter Rachel Gordon also quoted an unnamed source in city government who said Emmalyn’s was involved in “alleged financial improprieties related to the payment of sales taxes.”
That would jibe with the DEA’s claim, issued in a statement, that Emmalyn’s was violating both state and federal laws. In comments to reporters on March 18, Holder said the Department of Justice was only interested in going after large-scale pot growers who violate both.
Terence Hallinan, who represents Emmalyn’s and dozens of other pot clubs in the area, said his client didn’t violate state law, according to a press release from marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access.
While DEA raids continue to cloud perception of the government’s intended marijuana policy, we’re still looking toward those two California cases, in Los Angeles and San Jose, for some kind of concrete declaration.
— Evan Hill