By Alfa · Sep 27, 2004 ·
  1. Alfa

    ROSEVILLE (AP) - Federal agents raided a medical marijuana operation and
    seized hundreds of plants at the owner's nearby garden.

    The Drug Enforcement Agency served search warrants Friday at Richard
    Marino's home and business, Capitol Compassionate Care, which opened in
    January. No arrests were made.

    "We will collect all the evidence and present the case to the U.S.
    attorney's office," said Gordon Taylor, agent-in-charge of the DEA's
    Sacramento office.

    Alan Archuleta, a shift manager, said agents stormed in at 9:30 a.m., guns
    drawn, and yelling for everyone inside to get on the ground. "I thought we
    were being robbed until I saw the badge. For a split second, it was very

    Marino later spoke to The Sacramento Bee by phone from an undisclosed
    location, the newspaper reported Saturday.

    "I thought I was doing everything above board," he said. "I still think I'm
    doing everything above board."

    The conflict between state and federal law regarding medical marijuana
    deepened recently after two rulings by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of
    Appeals held that federal authorities do not have the power to go after
    noncommercial medical marijuana operations confined within the state. The
    U.S. Department of Justice is appealing the cases to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    While Marino is breaking federal law, which holds that possessing and
    cultivating marijuana is illegal, he is not breaking state law. California
    voters in 1996 passed Proposition 215, which allows qualified patients to
    use medical marijuana.

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