Dispensary Account Frozen: Medical Marijuana Supporters Rally

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday July 31, 2007

Some 50 people, including four Berkeley city councilmembers, rallied at the Maudelle Shirek Building Tuesday, demanding that federal drug agents and the Los Angeles Police Department stay out of Berkeley and that the city become a sanctuary for distributors of medical marijuana. 

Either—or both—the Drug Enforcement Agency or the LAPD was responsible for freezing the Berkeley Patients Group’s account at the Bank of America, according to BPD administrator Debby Goldsberry, who discovered the funds were frozen when she went to make a withdrawal on Monday. 

This comes on the heels of a DEA /LAPD raid July 25 on 10 medical marijuana distributors in Los Angeles, in which agents entered the medical marijuana dispensaries and seized medicine and equipment. 

Among the L.A. dispensaries targeted was the California Patients’ Group that has ties to the BPG. 

Wednesday, a DEA spokesperson in Los Angeles said she could not confirm or deny whether the DEA had a hand in freezing the account.  

“From what I hear, [the BPA] is associated with the dispensary down here,” Sarah Pullen, DEA-Los Angeles spokesperson told the Daily Planet. The federal search warrant is under seal, she said. 

William Panzer, the Oakland attorney representing the BPG, however, said he thinks the LAPD froze the account. He said he is waiting to see an affidavit from them and believes that whatever reason was given on it would not be credible.  

“If police don’t like the law [Proposition 215], they won’t follow it,” Panzer said. An LAPD spokesperson told the Daily Plant on Wednesday that he would research the question. 

“I hope we can adopt a resolution calling for Berkeley to be a sanctuary city where patients can be safe from disruption from the Nazi tactics of the federal government,” said Councilmember Darryl Moore, who spoke at the rally, along with Councilmembers Kriss Worthington, Max Anderson and Linda Maio.  

“The federal government should stop messing with sick people here and in the state,” Moore added. 

Berkeley Patients’ Group’s claims that the Drug Enforcement Agency had federal Drug Enforcement Agency froze the bank account Monday of the Berkeley Patients’ Group, an eight-year-old medical marijuana distributor. 

1996's Proposition 215, which allows residents of the state to use marijuana for treatment of chronic pain, anorexia, cancer and other serious illness