Pubdate: Tue, 12 Feb 2008
Source: Modesto Bee, The (CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Modesto Bee
Author: Tim Moran
Cited: City of Oakdale
Cited: Stanislaus County
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


The owners of the closed medical marijuana dispensary in Oakdale have 
filed two claims against the city and Stanislaus County, asking for 
almost $2 million.

The dispensary, Oakdale Natural Choice Collective Inc., and the home 
of the owners were raided July 31 by members of the Stanislaus Drug 
Enforcement Agency and the Oakdale Police Department. Another raid 
was conducted a day later on a Riverbank home that was used to grow 
marijuana for the patient collective.

Addison DeMoura, owner of the dispensary, was arrested along with 
several others associated with Oakdale Natural Choice Collective.

Charges haven't been filed and the case is under review, said 
Assistant District Attorney Carol Shipley.

One of the claims was filed on behalf of DeMoura, his wife, Jessica 
DeMoura, their son, Tiger James DeMoura, and Oakdale Natural Choice 
Collective. It keys on the raids at the collective business in 
downtown Oakdale and the DeMouras' home in Oakdale.

The claim asks for compensation of $1,953,266 for lost revenue from 
the collective, medical marijuana seized, equipment seized or 
destroyed in the raid, damage to the home and business, and legal costs.

Most of the claim, $1.8 million, is listed under lost wages for 
Addison DeMoura, at $10,000 per day. DeMoura said Monday that the 
$10,000 figure is the gross revenue for the business at the time it was closed.

The claim also asks for an unspecified sum for the trauma suffered by 
Tiger James DeMoura, 3, during the raid. The boy refuses to return to 
the Oakdale home and lives with his mother and grandmother out of 
town, according to the claim.

The second claim refers to the raid on the Riverbank home used to 
grow marijuana and cites the loss of marijuana plants and growing 
equipment as well as damage to the house. That claim is for $39,355.

The claim alleges that law enforcement officers wrote on the walls, 
spit tobacco on the floors throughout the house and urinated in the 
laundry room.

Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson called the allegations 
"ludicrous," and said they were "unfounded and baseless."

"I can guarantee you that didn't occur," Christianson said. "I know 
my staff would never participate in that kind of activity."

Oakdale Police Chief Marty West said he was surprised by the 
allegations. "I find it hard to believe that officers would do that," he said.

The claims generally are considered a prelude to a lawsuit. Robert 
Raich, an Oakland attorney representing the DeMouras, said the claims 
had to be filed within six months of the incident to retain the right 
to file a lawsuit. Whether a lawsuit is filed depends on the response 
and the outcome of any criminal charges, Raich said.

County and city officials have been put into a legal quandary because 
California law permits the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, 
but federal law does not.

Raich said the county has no authority to enforce federal laws, only 
state laws. Shipley said the county is reviewing whether the 
dispensary violated the criteria for medical marijuana under 
California law. "We aren't trying to enforce federal law," she said.

County Counsel Michael Krausnick said Monday that the DeMoura claims 
will be denied. "We don't believe it has any merit," he said.

West said the city claims administrator would review the DeMoura 
claims and make a recommendation to the City Council.

Addison DeMoura said Monday that he is eager to go to trial on any 
criminal charges that may be filed. He contends the business was a 
registered nonprofit and legal according to state law.

"I want them to prosecute this. I want to go to trial. They are 
subverting state law," DeMoura said.

"They took away a lot from me. I was just following state and county laws." 
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