HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html DEA Raids Clinic
Pubdate: Thu,  4 Oct 2001
Source: Auburn Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Auburn Journal
Author: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Facility Dispenses Medical Pot Recommendations

COOL -- A clinic that has dispensed more than 6,000 medical marijuana
recommendations remained open Wednesday, despite a Drug Enforcement
Administration raid that removed files and computer records.

Federal and West El Dorado Narcotics Enforcement Team agents searched the
offices of the California Medical Research Center on Friday.

At the same time, another team used a federal search warrant to seize files
and 32 pot plants from the rural El Dorado County home of center directors
Dale Schafer and Mollie Fry.

Schafer, an attorney who announced in July that he would run for El Dorado
County district attorney, said the medical and legal records of as many as
6,000 to 7,000 patients were seized. Fry is a general practitioner, breast
cancer survivor and medical marijuana patient. The center opened in August

Schafer blamed El Dorado County District Attorney Gary Lacy for initiating
the raids. Lacy couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

"I'm running for DA in El Dorado County and he sicked the DEA on us,"
Schafer said. "He didn't think he could prevail under Prop. 215 so his next
action was to call in the DEA."

The file information was sealed during the raids, Schafer said. A hearing is
scheduled today in federal court in Sacramento on a petition to return the
records based on attorney-client privilege, he said.

"All those files are protected by attorney-client privilege," Schafer said.
"Everything we have done was in good faith to comply with Proposition 215."

A medical marijuana initiative, Prop. 215 was passed by California voters in
1996 and has since been tested in several court cases, including the Placer
County trial of Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Steve Kubby.

Kubby was acquitted last February on pot-possession-for-sale charges after a
1998 raid netted 256 plants at his Olympic Valley home.

Schafer and Fry weren't arrested during the searches Friday and remain free,
with no charges against them. Schafer said his wife and 14-year-old son were
detained for several hours under armed guard during the raid at their home.

The marijuana plants seized were for Fry's own medical needs because there
has been some concern that her cancer may have returned, he said.

A Drug Enforcement Agency Administration spokesman at the agency's San
Francisco office was unavailable for comment Wednesday. In interviews with
other media outlets, the DEA had declined comment, citing an "ongoing

Both Schafer and Fry serve as witnesses for the defense in Prop. 215 cases.

Less than two weeks ago, two DEA agents had "infiltrated" a class the center
held on pot growing, going so far as to forge a note from noted Bay Area
medical-pot proponent Dr. Tod Mikuriya to register, Schafer said.

"We were trying to get people out of the black market," Schafer said. He
said he learned about the DEA involvement in the class during the raid on

Schafer said he wouldn't speculate on what the files and other material
taken in the raids would eventually be used for.

"But we will do everything to protect the interests of our patients," he

San Francisco attorney David Nick is scheduled to appear on behalf of
Schafer in court today. Nick represented Steve Kubby's wife, Michele, in the
Placer County trial. She was acquitted by a jury on all charges.

Nick said that a referee could be appointed by the court to examine
documents to determine whether they show evidence of a crime or if they fit
into the attorney-client communication privilege category. He anticipates a
continuance to at least Oct. 22. In the meantime, the court will keep all
records in safe custody, he said.

"This is an indication that the federal government is going to step up its
war on states' rights," Nick said. "They're going to ignore the people of
California, even if it means intruding on attorney's files."

Schafer said the center is advising patients to not only show up at the
hearing in Sacramento but bring an attorney -- or $10 to help pay for one.
The center has also set up a hot line -- 823-0992 -- to update patients on
the business' status and the court petition, he said.

"My wife is an eighth-generation practicing physician whose grandfather used
cannabis to treat anorexia," he said. "She's trained to be a free thinker
and help patients. Politics should have no place in medicine."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Doc-Hawk