Dazed and confused!
Recent federal DEA raids rattle licensed medical marijuana patients, growers
Oct. 10, 2011
MEDICAL MARIJUANA BUSTS
Dazed and confused!
Recent federal DEA raids rattle licensed medical marijuana growers
By Chris Conrad
October 10, 2011 2:00 AM
CENTRAL POINT — Dawn Repman feels like she's caught in the middle of a fight between the Drug Enforcement Administration and local medical marijuana growers.
Repman, 43, has smoked medical marijuana for the past year to treat chronic nausea caused by a kidney ailment. Up until Tuesday, she tended six plants on a plot given to her by the operators of Brian's Green Thumb Farm on East Gregory Road.
Those plants were among more than 400 that were jerked out of the ground by DEA agents during a morning raid. So far, no one at the garden has been charged with a crime, and neither the U.S. Attorney's Office nor the DEA will comment on the raids agents have performed on two large cooperative marijuana farms in the Rogue Valley over the past two weeks.
The East Gregory Road raid was preceded by a DEA-led operation Sept. 27 on Old Stage Road in Gold Hill. In that raid, close to 400 plants were eradicated while the providers who worked the land were temporarily detained by law enforcement.
No one has been formally charged with a crime in either case.
Repman is concerned about the raids, but her first order of business is procuring medical marijuana to treat her illness.
"The way I see it, the DEA took my medicine," she said. "I feel these raids are going to push patients on medical marijuana back onto pain medications that can be abused and are addictive."
Repman said doctors in the past have recommended she take opiates such as Valium, Demerol and Dilaudid for her medical issues. However, she is a former drug addict who abused opiates and methamphetamine, she said. She believes taking opiates could set her down the path of addiction once again.
"I have been clean seven years now," she said. "I take medical marijuana, and it helps me stay clean of pain medications. I now have a job and contribute to the economy."
The U.S. Attorney's Office believes that growers have taken advantage of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to produce large quantities of marijuana.
This pot is then shipped to the Midwest and the East Coast, where it is sold for a large profit.
Tony Machado, 28, is a grower at Brian's Green Thumb farm who claims that the operation was legitimate and that no marijuana was funneled into the black market.
The site featured more than 22 providers who grew for around 80 patients, making it one of the larger cooperative marijuana gardens in Southern Oregon.
Machado said many of the providers that worked the farm grew under the legal six-plant limit per patient to keep federal heat off the operation.
"A lot of us felt it was not even necessary to grow as much as we are allowed by state law," Machado said. "The people who grew here and the patients were only interested in using this as medicine."
The field that Machado and his fellow providers worked seven days a week lies barren following the raid. Machado said some of his patients are at a loss as to what to do now.
"Basically, they have to hope other patients will donate medicine to them free of charge," Machado said. "It's too late to grow medicine for them now. The season is nearly over. We were getting close to harvest."
Machado and his crew still tend to the vegetables and hops plants that grow on the farm. Among his other concerns are replacing the tent he claims DEA shredded the morning of the raid.
"They cut into my tent looking for something," he said. "For some reason they took half my clothes. I don't know why they only took half, but they did."
Machado said the raid will not deter him from growing medical marijuana in the future.
"I'm going to grow again as soon as possible," he said. "I don't know if it will be indoors, in a greenhouse, but I'm going to grow medicine soon."
Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.