Pubdate: Fri, 28 Mar 2008
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Page: B - 2
Copyright: 2008 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


The owner of an Oakland factory that produced marijuana candy with
names like Buddafinga and Mr. Greenbud has pleaded guilty to
conspiring to manufacture and distribute marijuana.

Michael Martin, 33, of El Sobrante entered a guilty plea at a hearing
Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Oakland. He is scheduled to be
sentenced July 2 by Judge Claudia Wilken.

Martin is the owner of Tainted Inc., which started as a boutique
business that made chocolate truffles and grew into a large
marijuana-candy maker that bought chocolate by the ton, authorities

Tainted Inc. employee Jessica Sanders has been charged with illegally
using a phone to distribute marijuana, a felony, while employees
Michael Anderson and Diallo McLinn - the son of longtime Berkeley
activist Osha Neumann - were each charged with a misdemeanor count of
marijuana possession.

Authorities said Tainted made candies with names that played off
popular legal treats: Budda-finga, Mr. Greenbud, Stoners. The
business also made pot-laced items such as cookies, ice cream, peanut
butter, granola bars and barbecue sauce, according to the Drug
Enforcement Administration.

When the federal government charged Tainted Inc.'s owner and employees
in September, authorities said the company supplied the
marijuana-laced candies to cannabis clubs in the Bay Area, Los
Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver, British Columbia and Amsterdam.

Before surrendering to face the charges in October, Martin blasted the
U.S. government for what he called an unfair attack by federal bullies
on ailing patients who rely on medical marijuana.

Martin said he joined the medical-marijuana movement after seeing his
father die painfully of prostate cancer in 2002 after a 10-year
battle. His father refused to use marijuana because of a federal ban
on all types of the drug. Martin said he uses medical marijuana to
ease pain after a fall left him with seven screws and a steel plate in
his left heel. He said he also has degenerative cartilage in his right

In September, federal agents raided his factory on the 900 block of
61st Street in North Oakland and a building on the 300 block of 40th
Street where marijuana was grown.

The investigation bears similarities to DEA raids in Oakland in 2006
in which five people connected with a company called Beyond Bomb were
convicted of making marijuana-laced treats with names like Munchy Way,
Rasta Reece's and Puff-a-Mint Pattie.

In federal marijuana cases, defense attorneys are barred from telling
jurors that companies supply medical cannabis products through
licensed dispensaries to qualified patients. Proposition 215, the
initiative approved in 1996 by state voters, legalized growing and
using marijuana for medical purposes with a doctor's recommendation.
Under federal law, marijuana used for any purpose is illegal.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake