The DEA said the raid was part of an ongoing criminal investigation. According to San Francisco DEA spokeswoman Jocelyn Barnes, the reason for the raid was “[m]arijuana continues to be a federally controlled substance, despite the fact that California voted to make medical marijuana legal.”
The raid on Oaksterdam is part of the federal government’s larger effort to shut down California’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry, which experts estimate is worth $1.7 billion annually.
As part of this multi-agency crackdown, the DEA is raiding medical marijuana providers who are fully compliant with state and local law.
In addition, the IRS is taxing providers to death by auditing them at an unprecedented rate, as well as enforcing an arcane tax policy the federal authorities claim prohibits providers from claiming standard business deductions available to all other businesses.
Even the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has weighed in on the issue, prohibiting gun dealers from selling firearms to medical marijuana patients who have registered their qualified patient status with the state.
Indeed, the mere spectre of federal enforcement has had a tremendous impact on stifling the industry. Landlords and banks have abandoned their relationships with medical marijuana providers.
Local governments, including historically pro-marijuana Mendocino County, have ended their long-standing permit programs.
Even the City of Oakland, one of the municipalities which pioneered the idea of regulating medical marijuana, has slowed down its plan to issue permits for industrial sized marijuana grows due to threats of prosecution from United States Attorney Melinda Haag.