SAN FRANCISCO — In a show of defiance against federal drug authorities, operators of a recently raided medical marijuana collective doled out marijuana and cannabis-laced sweets at midday Wednesday outside City Hall.
Steve and Cathy Smith stood beneath a pair of white tarps pitched in City Center Plaza as dozens of patients lined up to receive the small red paper bags filled with cannabis products. Only 20 patients of the Smiths' HopeNet collective had preregistered, and only they received the bags.
Earlier, local officials and state lawmakers' aides had gathered inside City Hall to voice outrage over the Drug Enforcement Administration's Dec. 20 raid of the Smiths' San Francisco home, the nearby HopeNet club and a Sonoma County site.
Federal agents seized almost 340 marijuana plants, various cannabis products and about $50,000 cash, but no charges have been filed against the Smiths or anyone else connected to HopeNet.
San Francisco Supervisors Chris Daly and Ross Mirkarimi praised the Smiths for working with the city to create a safe, well-regulated cannabis collective aiding hundreds of patients, including many who are indigent. An aide said Mayor Gavin Newsom is disappointed the federal government continues to intrude on local and state regulation of medical marijuana.
Anna Damiani, an aide to Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, read a statement from the lawmaker in which he decried the DEA's "zeal to harass patients and providers" as being "abusive and unconscionable" as well as a waste of resources that would be better deployed against real public-safety threats.
Similar statements from state Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, and San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris also were read aloud.