HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Activists' Marijuana Ranch Raided Again
Pubdate: Thu, 04 Oct 2001
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Los Angeles Times
Edition: Ventura County Edition
Author: Holly J. Wolcott, Times Staff Writer
Photos: The four photos include a notice posted on chain link fence, which 
reads in clear bold print: "Notice.Any attempt to steal (or otherwise 
divert any of this cannabis for non-medical purposes) will be reported to 
law enforcement authorities."
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Probe: Plants Grown For Medicinal Use Are Uprooted In A Second Search Of 
Couple's Lockwood Valley Land.

For the second time in two years, authorities have raided the Lockwood
Valley ranch of marijuana activists Lynn and Judy Osburn, uprooting
more than 200 pot plants that supply hundreds of medicinal users in
Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

As the Osburns watched, two dozen investigators from the federal Drug
Enforcement Agency, assisted by Ventura County sheriff's deputies,
last week searched their wooded property 45 miles north of Ojai. No
one was arrested.

The Osburns, who maintain they are medicinal marijuana users with
written recommendations from doctors, grow marijuana for the 900
members of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Cooperative, which
dispenses the drug as allowed under the state's 1996 voter-approved
Proposition 215.

Lynn Osburn, 51, uses marijuana to ease severe back pain from a
swimming accident that occurred several years ago, and Judy, 47,
smokes to relieve constant muscle spasms in her lower back.

While the seizure Friday was the second raid at the couple's 60-acre
farm, it's the first time federal authorities have been involved.

Ventura County sheriff's deputies descended on the property Aug. 4,
2000, and confiscated 342 marijuana plants. The couple and two
colleagues were arrested and freed on bail within hours. Local
prosecutors did not file charges.

The most recent raid at the property, where the Osburns have lived for
25 years, comes in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May
upholding a federal ban on dispensing marijuana to ill people.

There is ambiguity in the 1996 state law about how much marijuana
medicinal users are allowed to grow and whether distributors can
operate legally, Ventura County Deputy Dist. Atty. Ron Carpenter said.

"The way the law is written, it's very vague," said Carpenter, who is
working with sheriff's officials on drafting guidelines for local law
enforcement agencies concerning medicinal use and growing of the plant.

"We want something acceptable to all arms of the county," the
prosecutor said, "We do not want to see someone who is sick end up
being incarcerated, but we also don't want someone taking advantage of
the law."

Case To Be Forwarded To U.S. Attorney's Office

Jose Martinez, a DEA spokesman in Los Angeles, declined to say how
federal authorities learned of the couple's current growing operation.

"I cannot go into details except to say the investigation is
continuing," Martinez said.  "Marijuana is a controlled substance and
there is no accepted medicinal use."

The case will be forwarded to the U.S. attorney's office in Los
Angeles for review, Martinez said.

John Duran, a Los Angeles attorney who has represented the cooperative
and the Osburns for several years, said he has seen charges dismissed
in more than two dozen similar state cases but that federal
involvement in this recent seizure is troubling.

"The federal jurisdiction would be a lot tougher game, " Duran said
this week. "But even a federal court has to relay on a jury of
Californians, if the case ultimately went before a jury-and
Californians are a bit more in sync with the Osburns than federal

Scott Imler, president of the Los Angeles area cannabis cooperative,
said he was devastated to learn of the latest raid at the Osburn ranch.

"This is an incredibly serious setback for us. That was 30% to 40% of
our annual supply," said Imler, adding that many of the cooperative's
members have AIDS.

The Osburns are reimbursed by the cooperative, which charges users a
small fee per gram. No legitimate medicinal user, however, is denied
marijuana if he or she lacks money, according to the Osburns.

The 1996 law, approved by 56% of state voters, allows seriously ill
people to use pot to treat a wide range of symptoms, as long as they
have a written recommendation from a doctor.

Along with marijuana plants, some of which were up to 4 inches in
diameter, federal agents seized two computers, tax records, Judy
Osburn's unregistered pistol and other personal documents.

The Osburns say they intend to plant pot again.

"We have no choice," Judy Osburn said. "It's a life and death