The problem here is simple: Arizona voters passed the medical marijuana act last November expecting to see medical marijuana dispensaries, but Governor Jan Brewer thwarted that legal election and derailed the dispensary program. If the compassion clubs are also shut down, medical marijuana patients -- now totaling more than 11,000, according to the most recent report on the Arizona Department of Health Services Web site -- won't have a legal place to obtain their medicine.
We stopped by the club. It was closed and nothing was going on there, as expected. The big excitement occurred yesterday morning. An employee of a nearby business told us he saw four agents raiding the place dressed in full "SWAT-gear," including assault rifles, body armor and masks. It's unclear why the DEA dressed as if they were going after Los Zetas instead of medical marijuana doctors, patients or caregivers.
The employee said he and other business owners knew the place had been operating in the small complex of offices, but he hadn't seen or heard of any problems related to the Co-Op. That makes sense, considering recent evidence that closing -- not opening -- a medical marijuana clinic increases crime.
We called the DEA's public information officer, Ramona Sanchez, about a half an hour ago. We'll include her comments and information about this raid if she calls back.
The DEA's Web site contains no information about the bust, though it does tout the recent take-down of "violent street gang members." Our guess is that the Co-Op raid won't be touted in similar fashion -- it's nothing to be proud of, and unlike busting violent gangstas -- which nobody opposes -- raids on pot clinics have more to do with politics than public safety.