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Law enforcement reportedly posed as managers of Hillcrest marijuana collective

October 14, 2010 - 4:49 pm

Well, this is a new trick in the war on medical marijuana…

A medical marijuana patient and a CityBeat advertising account executive both say that law-enforcement officers in plainclothes were posing as the “new management” of a Hillcrest pot collective today.

The collective member, who asked not to be identified, said he visited the Helping Hands Wellness Collective in Hillcrest at about 11 a.m. this morning and found the collective closed. It was supposed to open at 10 a.m., so he called the collective’s number on his cell; a voice answered and he was let in. Once inside, he said several men wearing the collectives’ T-shirts introduced themselves as the “new management.” He was allowed into the dispensing area and was given hash as a free gift, a common gimmick to attract and retain collective members.

When he mentioned that he also grew marijuana, he said the men identified themselves as law-enforcement and detained him in a back room.

[Update] The San Diego County Sheriff’s office confirms that the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s office served the search warrant, with the San Diego County Regional Narcotics Task Force assisting.

“They kept asking how much medicine do I buy, how am I affording it, where am I getting it from, what cooperatives I’m a member of ,where my garden is,” the person tells CityBeat. “They just basically, in a easy sentence, they raped me for everything I had and never told me I had a right to remain silent. They made me think if I didn’t talk they would arrest me on the spot.”

The officers photocopied his medical marijuana card and physician’s recommendation and took his photograph, he says. He was allowed to leave after an hour and a half of questioning.

“They told me today’s my lucky day and I get to go home and to say ‘no’ to drugs,” he says.

At about 2 p.m., CityBeat rep Jason Noble visited the collective as part of a routine call to see whether the organization was interested in advertising. He says the door was initially locked, but he could hear someone fumbling with the locks before letting him in. There were about five men inside, including one with long goatee and wearing a T-shirt.

“He said they were under new management and had just opened the doors today,” Noble says. “Then I introduced myself and that’s when he pulled out his badge.”

Noble was not detained.

Eugene Davidovich, an activist with the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access, says he went to the site after hearing the initial reports and recognized at least one officer from the San Diego County Regional Narcotics Task Force. In March, a San Diego court acquitted Davidovich of charges stemming from Operation GreenRX, a task force sting operation targeting medical marijuana collectives.

Update: The Santa Barbara Independent is reporting on related raids. I’ve made some minor edits in this piece since publishing. After publication the collective asked his name be edited out of the story.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. poopslap permalink
    October 14, 2010 - 4:56 pm 4:56 pm

    LAME! They are trying to watse as much money they can before the november vote. Save our money and put your resources to better use.

  2. ilegalsmile permalink
    October 14, 2010 - 8:15 pm 8:15 pm

    Great article Mr. Maass. San Diego Americans for Safe Access (SDASA) and the entire patient community says thank you for the quick coverage on this!

    You all do so much for us and it is so appreciated.

    Please watch for pictures taken at the raid and updates as they unfold on SDASA website:

    Terrie Best
    Advisory Board Member
    San Diego Americans for Safe Access

  3. October 16, 2010 - 6:10 am 6:10 am

    Cannabis should have never been illegal in the first place. Its “illegality” is not based on any science, just on lies, distortions of fact, and blatant racism. The truth is that Cannabis is less physically addictive than caffeine, and that it may also serve as a much “safer alternative” to alcohol and/or hard drugs. Another Cannabis product, hemp, was used by humans since time immemorial! It is fully recognized that Cannabis use SUPPRESSES VIOLENT BEHAVIOR, and that Cannabis may be used to help not only treat, but to also prevent some devastating illnesses as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. The fact is that Cannabis has been used by humans for thousands of years exactly because there are so many ways in which this remarkable plant can help us and our planet. So, it is naive to presume that a bunch of fear-mongerers can change this fact, no matter how loud and untruthful they become! I worked in addiction medicine for years, and Cannabis use was the least of my problems, so I do recognize that classifying Cannabis in the same group as heroin and cocaine is one of the greatest scientific fallacies of our times. The so-called “gateway” drug theory was found to be totally invalid, and a very recent large study called this “theory” half-baked. It is simply untrue scientifically. As Kathleen Parker aptly observed on CNN couple of days ago, “To say that most hard drug addicts start with marijuana is the same as to say that all rapists start with masturbation”. Yeah, that’s about it! Cannabis is not physically addictive, as there is no clearly definable and reproducible physical withdrawal syndrome, observed with alcohol or opiate withdrawal, for example. A recent large study denied any connection between smoking Cannabis and a risk for lung cancer. Quite the opposite, Cannabis use is being found to have some preventative role with such serious conditions as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, and according to the latest research, Cannabis may even be an “exit substance” for recovering alcoholics/hard drug/prescription drug abusers. Cannabis criminalization leads to horrendous Civil Rights violations around the country. YES to Cannabis re-Legalization! YES on Cali Prop. 19!

    • ilegalsmile permalink
      October 16, 2010 - 3:47 pm 3:47 pm

      Thanks so much for a thoughtful and intelligent post.

      Please join San Diego Americans for Safe Access: We need people like you!

  4. yeson19sandiego permalink
    October 16, 2010 - 7:10 pm 7:10 pm

    The timing of this and other raids are an obvious shot across the bow of Proposition 19. It’s time to end the prohibition of marijuana! San Diegans can volunteer and help get out the vote:

  5. strelnikov2 permalink
    October 29, 2010 - 11:50 pm 11:50 pm

    The cops have a hard-on for nailing the pipe shops and the marijuana collectives; it’s really easy, there’s little to no chance of being hurt, and it looks interesting on TV. Yes, this is also a slap at Prop 19 (which I hope passes).

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