Donate

Northstone Organics’ Matt Cohen, Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman on Yesterday’s DEA Raid

| October 14, 2011
  • Share:
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Email

Raided yesterday by the DEA, despite being in compliance with Mendocino County law.

Update Monday, Oct 17: From the Ukiah Daily Journal, late Friday night: Northstone dispensary workers facing charges in Sonoma Co.

Two employees of Northstone Organics, a Redwood Valley medical marijuana dispensary raided Thursday by federal agents, face charges in Sonoma County Superior Court of transporting and possessing pot for sale.

Daniel Harwood, 33, of Willits, and Timothy Tangney, 29, of Lucerne, were stopped twice in October by a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy who smelled marijuana and seized about three pounds of processed pot they were reportedly delivering to patients in the Bay Area.

They are due in court Oct. 24 for a continued preliminary hearing, which began Sept. 15. Full article

Friday’s post
Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman was interviewed yesterday by Dave Brooksher of local KZYX News about the DEA raid on Northstone Organics, the medical marijuana grower and co-op licensed by the county. Allman’s department inspects growers operating under the only ordinance in California that makes it legal to be a cannabis farmer.

Legal, that is, locally and in the state of California. The federal government sees things a little differently.

An edited transcript follows the audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Listen to Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman speak about the DEA’s raid on Northstone Organics

Sheriff Allman

I think there’s lot of unknowns here. We do know that Northstone Organics is a registered 9.31 collective through the Mendocino county ordinance. [9.31 is the Mendocino County Health and Safety law passed by the county board of supervisors in March, 2010, by a vote of 3-2.] And we also know that the DEA did a raid on Northstone Organics today.

As far as I know, Matt Cohen and Northstone Organics were following all of the state laws and local ordinances that are in place.

Obviously we all know that there’s a big difference between what the state law is and what the federal law is. This was a federal search warrant signed by a federal magistrate, executed by the DEA.

The sheriffs’s office did have one of our deputies there. I’ve always encouraged our deputies to be at federal search warrants so when there’s a question about what happened I can have an employee tell me directly. I talked to the employee today; he stated that he was informed last night there was going to be a federal warrant today, and he went to a briefing this morning and found out where it was going to be.

I hope people don’t’ believe that [local law] is going to protect them if the federal government makes a decision to execute a search warrant and investigate.

What I heard, to the best of my knowledge, is Matt Cohen was not arrested. I believe 99 plants were eradicated. They took some of his personal property. That’s normal in the execution of a search warrant. That’s for the most part all I know.

I spoke to Matt Cohen briefly, and he basically told me what I just told you.

Dave Brooksher

I’ve gotten a number of calls and emails today from people around the county who are genuinely scared about what’s happening today. Do you have anything you’d like to tell other 9.31 operators?

Sheriff Allman

I’m not exactly sure where to go on this. I hope people don’t’ believe that 9.31 is going to protect them if the federal government makes a decision to execute a search warrant and investigate. That’s clearly told up front that the state and local governments have no authority to direct the federal government not to participate in an investigation.

It all boils down to the difference between federal law and state law. Somehow this needs to be determined by the highest court in the land, if the 10th amendment, state’s rights, is the law of the land for marijuana, or if federal law is going to be enforced.

Our constitution clearly differentiates between state law and federal law and who can enforce it. In this situation, we had federal officers enforcing federal law and it’s going to be submitted to the U.S. Attorney for review.

I’m not sure I can answer the question and say, gee, everything’s going to be okay, because the federal government has their own policies and laws they enforce.

I’d like to encourage people to really and truly think about where we are with marijuana laws right now. Take the emotions away from marijuana laws and look at the black and white differences.

I hope there’s someone out there that can come up with a logical answer of where we’re going to go on this. As sheriff of Mendocino County, I really wish I didn’t have to spend 30% of my time dealing with marijuana. And the voters have clearly said in California and in Mendocino County that medical marijuana is what they want. But the federal government has not accepted that. Sooner or later this is going to come to a head and we have to get to a decision so law enforcement has clear direction from the courts.

Meanwhile, Matt Cohen, the operator of Northstone Organics, spoke to the Ukiah Daily Journal about the raid:

“They came in, guns blazing,” Cohen said of the Thursday morning raid. “They calmed down and were pleasant at the end, but they came in with machine guns.”

The agents arrived at 6 a.m., handcuffed Cohen and his wife and stayed until about 2 p.m., taking 99 marijuana plants, computers and testing equipment, according to Cohen. He said the agents threatened to file federal charges against him, but made no arrests during the raid…

“They came in, guns blazing,” Cohen said of the Thursday morning raid. “They calmed down and were pleasant at the end, but they came in with machine guns.”

The agents arrived at 6 a.m., handcuffed Cohen and his wife and stayed until about 2 p.m., taking 99 marijuana plants, computers and testing equipment, according to Cohen. He said the agents threatened to file federal charges against him, but made no arrests during the raid. Full article

For more on the raid and the issue of medical marijuana in California, see our post from yesterday.

Related

Explore: , ,

Category: Law and Justice, News

  • Share:
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Email

Comments are closed.