While San Diego city leaders work on balanced regulation providing access while protecting neighborhoods, federal agents raided a downtown collective.
The move was described as intimidation by the city’s mayor who is demanding to know why the raid took place.
The Narcotics Task Force broke down the door at the "One-on-One" collective in the Gaslamp Quarter Tuesday morning. Officials said the action was part of an ongoing investigation and the execution of more than 10 federal warrants targeting indoor grows in the Oceanside and Escondido areas.
The collective was linked to those grows said Patrick Kelly Acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge with the Narcotics Task Force.
Agents removed dozens of boxes of evidence, while protestors taunted them.
Hours later, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner questioned the timing and the reason for the raid.
Filner has proposed an ordinance allowing dispensaries to distribute marijuana in commercial and industrial zones but no closer than 600 feet from each other, schools, parks, playgrounds and childcare centers. Operator background checks, security guards and cameras would be required.
The ordinance would require $5,000 annual permit fees and a 2-percent excise tax on wholesale marijuana purchases by the dispensary. Watch video
After discussing the ordinance Monday, the City Council referred numerous questions, concerns and suggested revisions to the City Attorney and other officials for review.
“The very next day, what does the Fed do? They step in, they interfere, they try to intimidate, they try to shut down safe access,” said Eugene Davidovich with Americans for Safe Access.
Mayor Filner is demanding answers from federal and county authorities and questioned the timing of the DEA’s action.
“The very person who spoke out at the meeting last night is then raided today, that does not seem to be the way that police ought to operate in our society,” Filner said.
He said Tuesday’s crackdown is exactly what he has argued against since becoming mayor.
“It just incites people, it just provokes people. It doesn't help discussion, rational discussion,” said Filner. “I'm sorry that it took place. And I haven't got a real good explanation for why.”
U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy is vigorously enforcing statutes because federally, marijuana is illegal. Kelly said Tuesday's warrants were part of that ongoing enforcement.
“The mayor clearly has some strong opinions about distributing marijuana throughout San Diego County but the DEA’s message has been consistent since Day 1,” Kelly said.
"Listen, there isn't any medical professional out there that would advocate smoking anything as a medicine,” he continued. “These clubs are not for compassion, they're for profit."
Filner said he’s been discussing the One-on-One collective with the City Attorney’s office for weeks and the collective was determined to be legal.
The North County chapter of Americans for Safe Access met Tuesday night to discuss the raid and the recent Council meeting on a proposed ordinance.
Officials said there were no arrests in connection with the warrant served at One-on-One however Davidovich said patients were held inside the collective for several hours.
Ashley, a patient of the collective, said her records were among those taken in the raid.
“I think it’s really important that we all come together as a community and step up and show that we will not let this happen,” she said. “We will not let them take away our safe access that we voted into law almost 17 years ago.”