Federal agents served a search warrant Wednesday at a marijuana dispensary in Santa Barbara, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.
The raid was conducted at the Pacific Coast Collective, 331 N. Milpas Street, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
No arrests were made, Mrozek said.
He declined further comment, saying a statement about the situation would be released Thursday morning.
At about 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the storefront was quiet and locked.
A man outside the dispensary, who said he was a collective member, spoke with Noozhawk, but would not give his name. He said the storefront was raided around 8 a.m., and he was told that a number of other collectives in town would also be raided.
A sign posted on the door Wednesday afternoon reads, “Due to a raid by the federal government, we will be closed until further notice. We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.”
This is the second time the Pacific Coast Collective has been raided, but appears to be the first time the Drug Enforcement Agency has participated in a local medical marijuana dispensary raid.
PCC is one of four medical marijuana storefront dispensaries permitted for operation by the City of Santa Barbara, which gives no legal protection as a zoning ordinance and mandates that participants abide by state laws. One of the operators is already facing felony charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale after the February 2010 raid.
People involved in local dispensaries said they’ve been very nervous since October, when U.S. Attorneys announced a crackdown on dispensaries and federal prosecutors sent out letters ordering dozens of California dispensaries to close or face criminal charges.
The whole environment has changed and become more hostile since then, even though local agencies have raided dispensaries since 2010, one local patient said.
The federal government will take action even against establishments operating legally under medical marijuana law in the 16 states where it’s legal with a doctor’s recommendation, the Associated Press has reported.
It marks the DEA’s second visit to Milpas Street this year, after agents arrested Dr. Julio Diaz, 63, for federal charges related to prescription drug distribution, to which he has pleaded not guilty. The affidavit for Diaz, a family practice physician, includes allegations that his drug-prescribing habits are related to nearly a dozen deaths among his patients and hundreds of visits to local emergency rooms.
Noozhawk reporters Lara Cooper and Giana Magnoli contributed to this report.
— Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.