As the cannabis burns …

This week’s cannabis roundup includes bizarre Sacramento County raids, sneaky pot-collective bans, Occupy’s stony repute

When four Sacramento County sheriffs and two code-enforcement officers showed up at south Sacramento medical-cannabis collective Common Roots last week, it was supposed to be a routine visit. But, by the time they left, their inspection had turned into one of the more bizarre raids of the year.

Typically when Sacramento County comes knocking, officials show up to investigate code-enforcement violations and write fines—upward of $1,500 a day.

The county began aggressively pursuing this course of action in July against its medical-cannabis collectives, which it argues are operating illegally. And the tactic has worked: It’s forced dozens of clubs, who in some cases accrued tens of thousands in penalties, to shut down.

But last Thursday at 2:45 p.m. at Common Roots, employee Kimberly Cargile said deputies illegally searched her club and confiscated pounds of marijuana.

Cargile said she demanded to see a warrant, but told SN&R the deputies didn’t care.

“We’re following federal law,” one deputy told her. “State law doesn’t exist anymore.”

During the hour-long raid, deputies seized 2 pounds of marijuana—removing the pot from separate glass storage jars and pouring all into a giant brown bag—before leaving. Cargile, who is also a volunteer with medical-cannabis advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, called attorney George Mull immediately.

“They agree that it was not a proper basis for taking” the marijuana, said Mull, who said he spoke with county counsel last Thursday regarding the matter.

“The county admitted that what they did was wrong,” Cargile told SN&R on Saturday, two days after the incident, “and are going to do an expedited return” of the cannabis.

Chris Andis with the county said, “The county has been contacted by the collective for return of the marijuana. Our county counsel advised them to file a claim for the property.” Common Roots intends to file said claim this week.

Cargile hopes that the incident will possibly shed light on the wrongfulness of the county’s effort to ban dispensaries, which she argues are legit under California’s Proposition 215.

“They kept using that word ‘illegal’” during the raid, she said. “But we’re not illegal. We’re completely legal under state law.”

As of this week, however, state law doesn’t matter in Sacramento County: The board of supervisors intends to ban not just medical-cannabis dispensaries, but also any storefront business that violates the way of Uncle Sam.

“What we’re trying to achieve here is being in compliance with federal law,” explained interim planning manager Leighann Moffitt, who crafted the zoning-code amendment to disallow any business that violates state or federal law, or both.

Medical-cannabis activist Lanette Davies, who owns city-based dispensary CannaCare, said this approach was a “dishonest” way to “slide through” a dispensary ban.

“I barely found out” about the amendment, she told SN&R—although dozens of patients showed up to protest and comment at last week’s board of supervisors meeting on Tuesday, December 6.

Davies pointed out that the zoning-code amendment does not include a single reference to marijuana, so local activists were slow to mobilize against it.

County staff, however, said it wasn’t trying to hide. Moffitt admits that “the origin in coming up with it was medical marijuana.”

“I can’t list to you another topic where we have such [state-federal] issues,” she said.

Meanwhile, it’s uncertain if the rule will hold up: The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has already stated that the city of Anaheim could not use federal law as grounds to ban medical-cannabis clubs.

If there are any remaining county dispensaries in a month, their most popular strain could become one with its own history of law-enforcement entanglements.

A new cannabis bud, called “Occupy OG,” popped up at a San Diego dispensary this past week. The strain, which retails for $50 an eighth at Thirty Health Center in San Diego, has now officially linked the Occupy Wall Street movement and its chapters worldwide with the “stoner” brand.

And, not surprisingly, Occupy is quite popular with medical-cannabis patients.

“I’m pretty sure that I’m out of that,” a Thirty Health Center employee told SN&R this past weekend when asked if there was still any Occupy OG in stock. “It went really fast.”

So far, no Sacramento-area clubs carry Occupy OG, according to SN&R called 10 clubs this past weekend; no dice, either.

There are rumors, though, of an Occupy Couch movement taking hold up and down the state, but this has yet to be confirmed.