SEBASTOPOL — A raid on a pot farm on the outskirts of Sebastopol netted federal agents thousands of mature marijuana plants and ended with the arrest of the owner of a Petaluma medical marijuana club.
Pot club owner Robert Schmidt, 51, was being held for investigation of assaulting a Drug Enforcement Administration agent during the raid Thursday at the home he rents.
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported that a source said Schmidt was arrested after he tried to strip another agent of his firearm.
Schmidt had rented the six-acre property since March.
His Petaluma club, Genesis 1:29, also was raided Thursday.
Computer hard drives were seized at the club, and crossbows and knives were seized at the ranch, agents said.
Neighbors said Schmidt was growing marijuana for Genesis and numerous other clubs around the Bay Area that sell marijuana for medical use.
In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215, an initiative allowing medical use of marijuana with approval from a physician.
But possession of marijuana remains a federal offense, and the Justice Department has stepped up enforcement since the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a legal challenge last year.
“Trust has built up between the sheriff’s department and the medical marijuana community, and the DEA, by these kinds of actions, really puts that at risk,” said Ernest “Doc” Knapp, spokesman for the Sonoma Alliance for Medical Marijuana.
Neighbors said Schmidt told them he had more than 5,000 plants. Some said they began complaining about Schmidt a month ago.