HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html DEA Seize Files On Medical Marijuana Patients
Pubdate: Wed,  3 Oct 2001
Source: Tahoe Daily Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Tahoe-Carson Area Newspapers
Author: Gregory Crofton
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


The Drug Enforcement Administration agents on Friday seized files that
contain legal and medical records of more than 5,000 medicinal marijuana
patients in El Dorado County. An estimated 500 to 800 of those files contain
information on South Shore residents. 

Agents raided the home and office of Dr. Mollie Fry, a physician, and her
husband, Dale Schafer, a lawyer who earlier had announced he will run for El
Dorado County district attorney. Fry and Schafer run the California Medical
Research Center in Cool, Calif., a clinic specializing in medicinal

The files will remain sealed, as required by the search warrant, at least
until a federal court hearing in Sacramento on Thursday. J. David Nick, a
San Francisco attorney hired by CMRC, called the seizure improper. 

"In any law book you look up to answer this problem it's going to say it's
illegal in the margins," said Nick, who specializes in cases related to
medical marijuana. "These type of records are confidential in the eyes of
the law. It falls under attorney-client privilege. It's a huge invasion of
personal privacy that chills one to the bone." 

DEA spokesman Richard Meyer said the search warrant for the records was
signed by a federal magistrate, but he would not discuss what narcotics
agents were looking for. 

"Our investigation is continuing, and therefore we cannot talk about it," he

Fry is a breast cancer survivor who is a medical marijuana patient. Cancer
has recently reappeared in her blood, said Jaimie Daniel, an employee of
CMRC. In Friday's raid, the federal government confiscated 32 marijuana
plants Fry kept for personal use. 

Details could not be confirmed on Thursday's court hearing, which was not
listed on the Web site calendar for the U.S. District Court in Sacramento. A
spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office there, which handles federal
prosecutions in this area, said she had no information on the case. 

Nick still doesn't know why the DEA was issued a search warrant. 

"It's typical for them to keep an application for a search warrant secret
for a period of time," he said, "but it's very unusual for a warrant to
command that any documents seized remain sealed." 

Dale Gieringer, director of California's National Organization for the
Reform of Marijuana Laws, said its too early to say that Bush's new DEA team
or state law enforcement are cracking down on the medicinal use of

"I know there's been surveillance at cannabis clubs for a while," he said.
"It's premature to say whether it's part of a larger campaign, I don't know
yet. It is the first time the DEA has tried to close a medical cannabis
center, whatever that means, and go after a doctor. Everybody is waiting
with baited breath to see if they close the clubs. That's the $64 question."
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