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DEA Returns And Raids SF Medical Marijuana Club

KTVU-TV (Oakland, CA), Dec. 21, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO -- Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided a medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco this evening, just hours after protesters celebrated scaring the DEA agents away.

The daylong protest involved nearly 100 demonstrators who gathered outside HopeNet, a medical marijuana co-op at 223 Ninth St., after DEA agents raided the home of the co-op's directors this morning.

Steve and Cathy Smith's home in the 200 block of Santa Clara street was raided before dawn today, according to Hillary McQuie with Americans for Safe Access, a national coalition that works to protect the rights of medical marijuana users.

The DEA seized about 126 starter plants, dried medicine and paperwork from the home, McQuie said.

This afternoon, protesters did their best to stare down DEA agents who sat in a vehicle outside the Ninth Street facility, apparently waiting for a go-ahead to raid the dispensary.

After two and a half hours, the agents turned around and left, and the protesters thought they had won.

"There was a jubilant outcry of victory," said Hilary McQuie with Americans for Safe Access, a national coalition that works to protect the rights of medical marijuana users.

However, sometime between 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., the DEA returned to Ninth Street and raided the facility, seizing a number of marijuana-based goods including brownies and butter, according to DEA spokeswoman Casey McEnry.

Additionally, shortly before the Ninth Street raid, DEA agents raided a San Francisco warehouse and seized about 500 marijuana plants, McEnry said.

McEnry said more information on the two evening raids would be available on Wednesday.

"I am totally in shock and bewildered," Steve Smith said this afternoon of the raid on his home. "I don't know how I am going to take care of my patients. Some are dying right now."

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