Posts Tagged ‘medical marijuana raids’

Marijuana Eradication Effort Under Way Across 6 California Counties

A massive, six county marijuana eradication operation aimed at ridding the Mendocino National Forest of clandestine marijuana cultivation is in full swing, Mendocino County officials have confirmed.

California Department of Justice spokeswoman Michelle Gregory tells the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa that the raids have netted nearly 300,000 marijuana plants and led to 77 arrests as of Monday, according to The Press Democrat.

Citing officer safety concerns, officials declined to give details of the operation, which began early last week but which they initially attempted to keep secret.

The operation includes hundreds of law enforcement officials from local, state and federal agencies. Raids are taking place simultaneously in Mendocino, Lake, Colusa, Glenn, Tehama, and Trinity counties, counties that contain portions of the Mendocino National Forest.

Each summer law enforcement agencies eradicate millions of pot plants from California public lands, which marijuana growers favor for their remote locations and rugged terrain.

The latest raids span Mendocino, Lake, Colusa, Glenn, Tehama and Trinity counties. Hikers and ranchers report more run-ins with armed pot growers in the region.

Superfast Computers Triggering Botched Marijuana Grow Raids

story.jpeg
Photo: Bitcoin Miner
Turns out, looking only at electric usage from a residence, the consumption for bitcoin mining won’t look much different from a marijuana grow-op. Cue clueless cops.

You don’t have to be growing marijuana to get raided for it. At least one Bitcoin miner has been raided by police because unusually high power usage led them to suspect he was growing marijuana, according to unconfirmed reports on Monday.

The tip comes from an IRC chat captured by blogger Mike Esspe, though there are no corroborating details, reports Jerry Brito of Techland.
Bitcoin is the anonymous virtual currency that uses distributed computing power to validate online coins. “It’s like gold mining, except that instead of digging, a miner uses cryptographic math,” reports Techland.
Screen shot 2011-05-23 at 11.12.58 AM.png
Screen capture: Mike Esspe
Does this mean, that with the growing number of bitcoin miners, courts will stop issuing warrants based on energy bills? Not bloody likely.
Like clandestine indoor marijuana growing operations, Bitcoin mining uses large amounts of electricity and runs up big power bills. It does this because it employs super-fast computers.
High power consumption has often alerted police to marijuana growing operations and has thus led to busts.
“The Canadian town of Mission, B.C. has a bylaw that allows the town’s Public Safety Inspection Team to search people’s homes for grow ops if they are using more than 93 kWh of electricity per day,” according to the blog Bitcoin Miner.
Though a typical mining rig will consume only a fraction of that amount, Bitcoin miners are adding capacity, and with multiple rigs, more and more miners are exceeding the level which triggers police interest, according to the blog.
Residents have been charged a $5,200 inspection fee — even if no marijuana or signs of a grow operation are found, reports Cam Tucker at the Delta Optimist.
Some Mission residents who feel their rights have been violated by the arbitrary searches, and have begun a class-action lawsuit against the District of Mission in B.C. Supreme Court.
There had already been speculation that mining Bitcoins will bring unwanted and misdirected attention from the police.
“I’m still waiting for the first bitcoin grow-op raid,” a Bitcoin mining pioneer had commented on an IRC channel back in January.
Increasingly ubiquitous supercomputing could lead to more and more false positives, not just for Bitcoin miners, but for hardcore gamers too, as well as anyone running video rendering farms or web servers from home, according to Techland.
“It will be interesting to see how courts will adapt to such uses when interpreting reasonable suspicion standards,” Brito writes.
Does this mean, that with the growing number of Bitcoin miners, courts will stop issuing warrants based on energy bills? Not bloody likely.

http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2011/05/superfast_computers_triggering_botched_marijuana_g.php#more

Obama Still Targeting Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

In 2009, the Obama Administration announced a new federal policy regarding marijuana in states in which medical marijuana has been legalized. The policy statement instructed federal prosecutors not to devote federal resources to prosecuting those who use or supply medical marijuana in strict compliance with state law. At the time, Ilya and I praised the new policy, though Ilya was quite skeptical it would make much difference.

Since the policy it was announced, it appears the policy has been difficult to maintain, and prosecutions of medical marijuana distributors has continued, largely because the federal government fears that some marijuana distributors are serving more than the medicinal marijuana market. As the NYT reports, federal prosecutors appear to be escalating efforts to go after marijuana distributors in medical marijuana states.

As some states seek to increase regulation but also further protect and institutionalize medical marijuana, federal prosecutors are suddenly asserting themselves, authorizing raids and sending strongly worded letters that have cast new uncertainty on an issue that has long brimmed with tension between federal and state law. . . .

Letters so far have gone out to governors in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, prompting some states — including Rhode Island and Montana, in addition to Washington — to revise or back away from plans to make the medical marijuana industry more mainstream.

In Washington, Ms. Gregoire asked for guidance from the state’s two United States attorneys, Mike Ormsby and Jenny Durkan. In a reply to the governor last month, they said the federal government would prosecute “vigorously against individuals and organizations that participate in unlawful manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law.”

The changes have angered supporters of medical marijuana, who say the federal government is sending mixed signals, even as they argue that it has not technically changed its position.

The Justice Department claims there has been no change in policy. Marijuana has remained illegal under federal law, and prosecutors have continued to pursue larger and more conspicuous dispensaries without much regard for state law, prompting increasing conflict with state officials. In the meantime, state level efforts to decriminalize medical marijuana continue apace. There’s now talk of a ballot initiative here in Ohio. So the federal state tension will continue.

Is there a better way? Yes, but it would be difficult to implement without legislation. Here’s what I suggested in 2009:

The Justice Department has to set prosecutorial priorities, as there are more federal crimes on the books than federal prosecutors can ever hope to prosecute. The aim should be to focus federal resources in those areas where there is a distinct federal interest, or where the federal government has a comparative advantage of state and local law enforcement. Where federal law conflicts with state law, prohibiting activities state laws allowed, federal efforts should still focus on those instances of alleged lawbreaking where there is a distinct federal interest, including spillover effects on neighboring jurisdictions.

The federal government has a legitimate interest in controlling interstate drug trafficking, but no particular interest in prosecuting those who seek to provide medical marijuana to local residents pursuant to state law. So it only makes sense for the Justice Department to tell federal prosecutors to focus their efforts on those who are not in compliance with state law, such as those who use medical marijuana distribution as a cover for other illegal activities, interstate drug trafficking in particular. California should be free to set its own marijuana policy, but the federal government retains an interest in preventing California’s choice from adversely affecting neighboring states.

Ideally, the federal government would treat marijuana like alcohol, retaining a federal role in controlling illegal interstate trafficking but leaving each state entirely free to set its own marijuana policy, whether it be prohibition, decriminalization, or somewhere in between.

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/obama-still-targeting-medical-marijuana-dispensaries

Feds raid medical marijuana facility, 2 other Oakland County properties

Federal agents raided at least three properties in Oakland County this morning.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents were at Caregivers of America, a medicinal marijuana facility in Walled Lake, a home in Commerce Township and an office building in Novi.

DEA Group supervisor Andrew Eiseman said sealed federal search warrants were executed at all three locations, but few other details were released.

He would not say why the warrants were issued or provide more details about the investigation. He did not say if any arrests have been made and would not comment on whether the raids were connected.

The home raided is located in the 3300 block of Benstein Road and is owned by Romel and Ban Casab, according to the Oakland County Assessor’s Office. Romel Casab has said in a lawsuit that he is one of the owners of the former Packard plant in Detroit.

A neighbor who lives across the street from the home said she first saw agents at the home shortly after 7 a.m. today. A black convertible was taken out of the garage and driven out before it was towed away, neighbor Annette Winberg, 66, said. Another car was also taken, she said.

About 10 agents were at the home this morning with four or five cars when a Free Press reporter arrived.

The medicinal marijuana facility in Walled Lake is located at 1020 Decker Road. Walled Lake assessor records say it is owned by 1020 Decker LLC. The assessor’s office said it sends the company’s tax bills to a suite on West 12 Mile Road in Novi. The DEA confirmed that agents were also at the location on 12 Mile this morning executing a search warrant.

Calls to Caregivers of America and to the Commerce Township home were not returned. A woman at the home in Commerce Township declined to talk to a Free Press reporter.

The DEA is working with the Oakland County Sheriff’s office on the raid.

http://www.freep.com/article/20110412/NEWS03/110412028/Feds-raid-medical-marijuana-facility-2-other-Oakland-County-properties

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