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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Authorities say police and federal agents in Nevada are serving search warrants at several locations in an investigation of medical marijuana clinics in and around Las Vegas.

    Las Vegas police Officer Jacinto Rivera said no arrests were made Wednesday in the raids conducted as part of a federal investigation of medical marijuana dispensaries in the area.

    "A number of federal search warrants were served and executed today at locations in the Las Vegas Valley in connection with an ongoing law enforcement investigation," said U.S. Attorney's Office Spokeswoman Natalie Collins. "No arrests were made today in connection with these warrants, and the warrants and supporting affidavits are sealed; thus, no additional information can be provided at this time."

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Page Last Updated: Wednesday September 8, 2010 9:11pm PDT



  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Raids Raise Questions About Medical Marijuana Trade

    LAS VEGAS - The world of green operates in a world of gray. Some, like Medical Cannabis Consultants of Nevada owner James Parsons, want to bring medical marijuana out of the shadows. Now, he is a target.

    "They can keep sending the FBI and DEA every day for all I care," Parsons said. "This doesn't bother me."

    Parsons' business and his recognizable nature first attracted the I-Team's attention earlier this year. He welcomed the I-Team into his consulting business. He knows he can't sell cannabis to patients, only knowledge. But, he wants reform.

    "Nobody regulates them," he said. "They're going to continue to photocopy and misuse state documents. They're going to continue to get to the lowest bidder who is going to sign off on that form for them."

    Parsons says he simply wants to teach people how to grow their own as Nevada law requires. His competitors, however, appear to take a different direction. This spring, the I-Team went undercover to the Happiness Consultants. Staffers there told the I-Team's undercover photographer he would have no problem getting licensed, even though he had no applicable ailment. That report may have lead to Wednesday's raids of several medical marijuana consultants around town.

    So-called consultants in Las Vegas can only help fill out paperwork. Doctors can't be directly involved, and the consultants certainly can't sell marijuana. The large-scale federal raids have targeted advertising businesses. But, Metro Police SWAT officers this week also invaded neighborhoods even if no marijuana sales actually took place.

    Unlike California, Nevada has no legal way for people to purchase marijuana of any kind. Dispensaries are illegal. So, patients are stuck going to places like the Happiness Consultants or Parsons for ideas and, as the federal government suggests, maybe more. One infirmed patient had to be helped to a car by an undercover officer.

    Nathan Martinez has a consulting business next door to the Happiness Consultants. He says Nevada's law only goes half-way. In Nevada, you can possess marijuana. You just have no easy, legal way to get it. It's supposed to appear out of nowhere.

    "There's something that has to be done," Martinez said. "There's no structure for obtaining seeds, anything like that in order to produce medicine. So, in other words, they have to go to the illegal guy."

    Parsons says the disconnect between federal, state and local rules leads to intimidation. He says his patients don't get to fight for policy. They just need help. "I wasn't arrested. I was just robbed," he said. "Ultimately, people need us there. That's why we're going to be back there tomorrow morning, 10am."

    Nevada's marijuana program leaders say you don't need a consultant to help you with paperwork. If you are licensed, you can possess a small amount of marijuana and a few plants. But, unlike California, only one person can grow it for you. There are no legal dispensaries. Advocates hope a ballot initiative could clear the way for more wide-scale legalization.

    Updated: Sep 08, 2010 11:00 PM

    there is also a 3+ minute news video clip embedded in the linked story
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