The Coastal Post - September, 1996

Cannabis Buyers' Club Closed

A San Francisco judge granted an injunction to close down the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club today, leaving the club's 11,000 patients without a source of medicine.

The injunction was granted following a raid by 100 gun-toting narcotics agents ordered by State Attorney General Dan Lungren, an outspoken opponent of this year's ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana, Proposition 215.

San Francisco leaders expressed their outrage at the raid, which was ordered without consultation with local officials. District Attorney Terence Hallinan denounced the raid as a political act by Lungren, who has been mentioned as a Republican candidate for Vice-President. The San Francisco Board of supervisors passed a resolution called on the Department of Health to draw up a public health state of emergency declaration for medical marijuana, along the liens previously adopted for needled exchange. This could pave the way for suspension of laws against medical marijuana in San Francisco.

An angry crowd of 2,000 patients and supporters marched on the state office building tonight to express their support for medical marijuana, the club, and Prop. 215, as well as their outrage at Dan Lungren.

The SBCBC was closed based on affidavits from narcotics officials that the club had sold marijuana for non-medical purposes to undercover agents as well as to teenagers. In a tape released to the media, club founder Dennis Peron was shown selling a quantity of marijuana to an undercover agent for what were alleged to be "non-medical" purposes. The agent was posing as an AIDS patient who wished to provide marijuana to fellow patients in Sonoma County. No evidence was presented substantiating other allegations. While it was reported that a weapon and a small quantity of hallucinogenic drugs were found in the raid, none of these were found at the Buyers' Club, but rather at private residences that were searched in conjunction with the raid. No criminal charges have been filed, though the state is reported to be seeking civil finds against club operators.

Although the SFCBC will no longer be selling marijuana, it will continue to serve as the office for Californians for Compassionate Use. Spokesmen stated they were "specifically staying away from campaign materials" having to do with the initiative. Attorney General Lungren and the California Narcotics Officers Association are avowed opponents of Prop. 215.

California National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) coordinator Dale Gieringer denounced the raid saying, "This raid proves the need to pass Prop. 215. The Attorney General has made it plain that he not only opposes medical use of marijuana, but also intents to waste taxpayers' money enforcing laws against it."

CBC managers vowed to reopen the club tomorrow. It is uncertain whether the club will be allowed to remain open, or whether the state will obtain an injunction against its operation.