Protesters At Federal Courthouse Decry Medical Marijuana Raid


Jack Rikess

By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent
The ripples of the DEA’s early morning assault in Ukiah reached the Bay Area on Friday. Medical marijuana activists gathered in front of the San Francisco Federal Building to bring awareness to the crack-of-dawn raid Thursday on Mathew Cohen’s collective, Northstone Organics.
A faithful throng of about 40 showed up to show solidarity with the Northern Californian Collective. Shona Gochenaur of Axis of Love, bullhorn in hand, wondered where were the powerful politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Attorney General Kamala Harris who took medical marijuana campaign contributions but are nowhere to be found now. She continually pumped up the protesters while being interviewed by the local media stations.
The chants by the hearty few assembled of “Our Medicine, Our State” and “DEA, Go AWAY,” reverberated around the entrance of the building causing the suits and onlookers to pause as they saunter out for their lunches.  

Jack Rikess

​The raid of Northstone shook the medical marijuana community because of Matt Cohen’s obvious efforts to be transparent while working with the Mendocino Sheriff’s Department. Since the raid, the media has anointed Cohen one of the poster kids of Sheriff Allman’s 9.31 program.
To be fair, Sheriff Allman started the program, but it was then taken over by the Board of Supervisors of Mendocino once that they saw it was working. However, Sheriff Allman — for good or bad — will always be identified as the face of California’s most progressive medical marijuana solution. 
I had placed a call to Sheriff Allman for an interview and he returned my call while I was at the Northstone protest rally. 

Jack Rikess

​Since the raid Thursday morning, Sheriff Allman’s been under some intense scrutiny by both sides of the community, the Feds who think he’s far too lenient with the potheads and the farmers who signed up for 9.31 program, who are justifiably nervous about the future.
On KMUD radio Thursday night, the Sheriff had this to say…
I think there’s lot of unknowns here. We do know that Northstone Organics is a registered 9.31 collective through the Mendocino county ordinance. And we also know that the DEA did a raid on Northstone Organics today.
As far as I know, Matt Cohen and Northstone Organics were following all of the state laws and local ordinances that are in place.
Obviously we all know that there’s a big difference between what the state law is and what the federal law is. This was a federal search warrant signed by a federal magistrate, executed by the DEA.

Jack Rikess

I’m not exactly sure where to go with this… I hope people don’t believe that 9.31 will protect them if the federal government makes a decision to execute a search warrant. [The growers] were told up front that the state has no authority to direct the Feds not to participate in an investigation.
What it boils down to is the difference between federal law and states’ law. Somehow this needs to be determined by the highest court in the land, if the 10th Amendment, states’ rights, is the law of the land or if federal law is going to be enforced.    
Yesterday I spoke to growers over the phone that now will not go on record with their names in fear of retaliation by the feds. Most who I spoke to said they are freaked!
Some sages are trying to keep the peace saying this will blow over, others are scared and making plans to deal with their medicine like it 1993 all over. The black markets are slowly rising again because legal growers, permitted by the 9.31 program, aren’t sure who to trust.  
One thing is for sure, after years of having the price of ganja tea drop due to the competition of a legal market place that dispensaries provided, the Feds in all their wisdom in four days time, have driven the price of marijuana up about $500 per pound.

Photo: Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town correspondent Jack Rikess blogs from the Haight in San Francisco.

Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comic, writes a regular column most directly found at

Jack delivers real-time coverage following the cannabis community, focusing on politics and culture.

His beat includes San Francisco, the Bay Area and Mendocino-Humboldt counties.

He has been quoted by the national media and is known for his unique view with thoughtful, insightful perspective.