Two West Hollywood medical marijuana dispensaries were raided Tuesday afternoon. One arrest was made, according to City News Service.
Federal agents along with Los Angeles Police Department officers and West Hollywood sheriff’s deputies raided and on Santa Monica Boulevard around 2:10 p.m., the Los Angeles Times reported.
Acting on a tip from a reader, Weho Patch visited the dispensaries late Tuesday afternoon. A black tarp covered half of Zen Healing's front window, with handwritten signs that read "Closed" and "Closed Permanently" posted on the front door.
At least three people were inside the collective when Weho Patch knocked on the door. An employee came to the door, but would not open it. He merely said, “We’re closed permanently.”
Further east at Alternative Herbal Health Services, a handwritten sign on the door read, “IM Sorry. We Will Be Closed for a Couple Days.” Beside the text was a sad face. Computers and a big screen TV were still visible through the window.
Customers came to the doors of each of the shops, all seemingly startled by the signs saying that they were closed. At Zen Healing, an older man was crying, pleading with the store employees who would not open the door.
Don Duncan, the director of the California branch of Americans for Safe Access, a pro-medical marijuana organization, sent out an e-mail blast alerting people that the raids were occurring at Alternative Herbal and Zen Healing early in the afternoon.
In the message, Duncan called for protesters and legal observers to go to both locations. He further said, “Americans for Safe Access strongly condemns the raids and calls on the administration to live up to its promise of a more reasonable federal policy.”
Even though it was not part of the raid,, directly across the street from AHHS, was also closed on Tuesday afternoon. A handwritten sign on their door read, “Power Outage Will Open Normal Wed AM at 10 AM Sorry.” The store’s front window blinds were shut and the folding steel gate covered the entire front window.
While medical marijuana is legal with a doctor’s prescription in California and a dozen other states, sale and distribution of marijuana is still a felony under federal law. Thus, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) periodically raids marijuana dispensaries.
In January 2007, the DEA conducted simultaneous raids on 11 Los Angeles-area dispensaries, five of which were in West Hollywood. Alternative Herbal and Zen Healing are two of the four medical marijuana dispensaries allowed to operate in West Hollywood.
Weho Patch contacted Sarah Pullen of the DEA, but has not yet received a comment.
West Hollywood Patch will update this story as more details become available.