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Pot Raids Continue, Feds Continue to Help

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Police raids on medical marijuana dispensaries continue--and continue with federal help, despite an Obama promise to end federal raids on state-legal medical pot dealers.

Of course, Obama gave his Justice Department a loophole, with Attorney General Eric Holder saying back in March that his DEA's resources would "go after those people who violate both federal and state law....Given the limited resources that we have, our focus will be on people, organizations that are growing, cultivating substantial amounts of marijuana and doing so in a way that's inconsistent with federal and state law." This was a way to live up to Obama's promise that federal raids on people who were not violating their own state's law regarding medical marijuana would cease.

Unfortunately, so far it's hard to know how serious to take this promise in relation to these latest L.A. raids, since the federal agents' role in the raids on two Westside pot dispensaries (and their owners' private homes) is still unexplained as of this writing. As the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Authorities are not saying why they raided two medical marijuana clinics and arrested the operator at his Los Angeles home. Jeffrey Joseph was free on bail Thursday, one day after local and federal agents searched his home and the dispensaries in Los Angeles and Culver City. Agents seized 450 plants and hundreds of pounds of marijuana products.

Spokespeople for the Drug Enforcement Administration, Los Angeles police, and the U.S. attorney say they don't know what Joseph was book on. County prosecutors released no details.

Distributing medical pot is legal under California law but it's a federal crime. However, the U.S. attorney general has said he wouldn't target distributors unless state and federal laws were broken. County prosecutors say the task force was acting on a state warrant.

There's something a little disturbingly totalitarian about police not telling the press why they've attacked the businesses and homes of citizens and shot a dog in the process, but hopefully everyone involved will have their day in court.

The L.A. Times on the raids, noting the involvement of "The DEA, FBI, Internal Revenue Service, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Torrance Police Department and Culver City Police Department."

The L.A. Weekly was mad back in July that L.A.'s pot dispensary regulations were too loose, allowing what they saw as too much mixing between legal medical pot and unsightly and unsafe illegal street pot markets. One solution to that, of course, would be to legalize entirely.

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)