Speak Out Against DEA Attacks on Oakland Medical Marijuana Producer

29 Sep

Wednesday was a difficult day for the medical marijuana movement. In the morning, the DEA raided the longest standing medical cannabis dispensary in Sacramento. I wrote about that raid on the blog of the organization I work for, Americans for Safe Access, so I won’t dwell on it here.

Before noon though, I’d gotten word of another raid. The DEA was apparently raiding a facility operated by Tainted, Inc., a medical cannabis edible producer. I asked a coworker of mine to drive down to the site to confirm. As he was on his way, I got another call telling me that the DEA was raiding three Tainted facilities.

My coworker soon called me to confirm that it was a DEA raid (sometimes raids are misreported and we like to confirm by looking for the very noticeable DEA jackets). I told him about the other raids and asked him to talk to the agents to find out if anybody at any of the locations had been detained or arrested. After nudging the agents for a while, they finally told him that there were a dozen people being detained, but the DEA wouldn’t reveal whether anybody had or would be arrested. They simply told us to keep calling the Oakland courthouse to check if any arraignments were scheduled for the following day.

Let me back up a bit. You might have read the Chronicle’s or the Tribune’s articles about these raids, but surprise, surprise, neither of those stories give the full picture of what happened and what this means. The Trib’s headline refers to “drug-laced candies” while the Chron calles Tainted a “pot candy firm.” Both stories quote DEA agents extensively. Neither quotes a medical cannabis patient or advocate, despite the fact that ASA sent out a press release explaining the medical side of the story.

I know many of the people who were involved in Tainted quite well. They were doing this for all the right reasons and gave back to the community whenever they could. They spearheaded accurate labeling of medical marijuana edibles. All of their edibles are clearly marked with ingredient lists and warnings stating they are for medical use only. There’s also a clear warning on the back of their edibles -“Keep out of reach of children”:

Tainted Edible Packaging

Tainted Edible Packaging

Tens of thousands of Californians who use medical marijuana depend on these edibles. They either cannot or do not want to smoke for health reasons or edibles are more effective. While the healing effects of inhaled cannabis only last for a short time, the effects of ingested cannabis can last for several hours. Tainted was one of the most respected edible producers, and they supplied medical cannabis patients statewide.

Back to last Wednesday… throughout the day, we tried to gather more facts, but there was little more to find out. Tainted’s attorney didn’t even find out about the 10:00 a.m., Thursday arraignment of three alleged managers until the arraignment had already begun. Luckily, all three of them were released pending trial. They all face serious prison sentences if they are convicted.

Throughout the end of the week, I was in contact with Michael Martin, the owner of Tainted. The press stories have painted him as a fugitive, but the truth is that he just happened to be out of town when the raids occurred. He intends to turn himself in next week and fight the charges against him.

What struck me was Martin’s concern with his employees. He kept calling me to see if I had heard more about any arrests. He had his attorney attempt to intervene in the arraignments. He didn’t want to publicize anything until he knew that everyone was safe. He is certainly not what most people think of when they picture a drug manufacturer or drug dealer. And he doesn’t see himself that way either.

Needless to say, the medical cannabis community is pretty pissed off right now. These attacks on safe access need to end. In August, I told the inspiring story of a huge activist response to DEA raids in Los Angeles and asked, how far would Oakland go for medical marijuana? Now it’s time to find out. On Thursday, ASA is hosting a press conference and rally at the Oakland federal building to speak out against the DEA raids in Oakland.

I encourage everyone reading this post to join me on Thursday and to spread the word. We can only end these raids if we fight back.

Here are the details:

What: Press Conference Speaking Out Against Raids in Oakland
When: Thursday, October 4th at 9:00am
Where: Oakland Federal Building at 1301 Clay St.
What to Wear: Business Professional Attire

For more information, contact Sonnet@AmericansforSafeAccess.org

14 Responses to “Speak Out Against DEA Attacks on Oakland Medical Marijuana Producer”

  1. Tell the Truth September 30, 2007 at 8:58 am #

    Martin has been a drug dealer and a marijuana connoisseur since his youth. He has taken a proposition passed to help sick people, as a cover to make money – and lots of it. He only cares about getting high and making money, and makes a mockery of all the people who legitimately need pain relief. He didn’t even comply with FDA standards for the product labeling – why??? Because he knew he wasn’t operating within the laws of prop 215. Tainted started as a way to get high using edibles because they used in public undetected. Prop 215 and the “cause” then became a convenient cover for a highly profitable business.

  2. Becks September 30, 2007 at 7:24 pm #

    The FDA started regulating medical cannabis products? That’s news to me, and I guess my job is done.

    Really, the movement has been pushing for regulations of medical marijuana to be handled by the FDA instead of DEA. I’d welcome rescheduling and substantial regulations.

    But until Congress and the Administration listens to the science and decide to regulate cannabis like other medicines, producers and providers are left to make things up as they go along. And considering how few stories we hear about patients getting sick from medical cannabis products, I think they’re doing a pretty good job.

  3. Tell the Truth October 1, 2007 at 11:37 am #

    See below…There are ways to deliver safe, effective cannabis based drugs to deserving sick people. However, it requires actual product testing and isn’t as profitable for your standard pot dealer. The states have labeling requirements as well. I agree, regulation is needed to make safe products available, until then prop 215 will continue to be used as a money making scheme taking avantage of the sick. Marijuana in these candies and at clubs is often much more expensive than the street price. It was just an open market for Tainted to capitalize on.

    FDA OKs Return of ‘Marijuana’ Drug
    Drug, Called Cesamet, Treats Nausea and Vomiting From Chemo

    The drug’s label states that Cesamet, “like other cannabinoids, has complex effects on the central nervous system” and that the drug may work by interacting with cannabinoid receptors (the CB1 receptor) in the brain.

    http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=62084

  4. Lenny October 1, 2007 at 3:56 pm #

    As I read the news that Tainted had been raided the tears flowed. I rely on edibles to help me sleep and too help with pain. I regularly rely on Tainted’s Peanut butter cups because they are tasty and yet still effective. My heart goes out to Michael, Jessica and the whole crew. I am sure that they are having a hard time of it and would like them to know that my prayers are with them in the tough road ahead of them. When will this stop? How many of us have to die a misrable death? I am sooo sad.

  5. Truth Teller October 2, 2007 at 6:21 am #

    Actually…to the cop that believes that synthetic forms of THC such as Cesamet and Marinol are safe and effective, they need to get their facts straight and begin doing real research into the ineffectiveness and harmful side effects of these synthetics. If patients wanted to put themselves in harms way using synthetic drugs then there would be no sense in even having a true cannabis as a medicine discussion. Actually the tainted products were FDA compliant as well, with full ingredients, drug facts panels, lot numbers, and expirations. What rock have you been living under? The obvious slander leaves me to believe that you are a law enforcement individual that should have better things to do with his time than lie and produce uneducated babble on an activists blog. What a loser.

  6. Tell the Truth October 3, 2007 at 9:06 am #

    A cop? Hardly. If and when Mr. Martin shows up for the press conference tomorrow, you can personally ask him how many months he did in jail for selling cocaine to minors. Any answer less than 13 will be a lie. Then you can ask him how many years he spent trading stolen guns and bicycles for meth, to again further his career in sales. Ask him how many nights of his life he’s spent in jail, and months of his life he’s spent in rehab for his drug and alcohol additions.

    Are Tainted’s goods tasty? Yes! Do they get you high? Absolutely! Are they safer then synthetics? Who knows. But what you need to know is that this was a business to Martin – that first Medical Marijuana sticker was placed on that first truffle to keep the state police away and nothing more.
    Like I said, prop 215 is again used as a cover, and again the sick and the needy are used to fuel a business – nothing more than money making at its finest. And that is wrong – if it weren’t for the fact that Tainted had cannabis clubs to sell too, he never would have become an activist. You can call me a liar, but the truth will be confirmed. Pick a better martyr for your cause if you want the support of the masses to help deliver safe cannabis products to patients.

    Go ahead, ask him. See if he tells YOU the truth.

  7. Tell the Truth October 3, 2007 at 9:51 am #

    Oh and I forgot to mention – didn’t one of the articles state that the affidavit described Tainted as distributing ecstacy and cocaine as well? What is the medicinal use for that? Some people never change.

  8. how do October 3, 2007 at 6:50 pm #

    tell the truth, do u have something to back up this serious allegations. I don’t know mr. martin, I like to hope is heart was in the right place, please provide a link to this info, cause right now u sound just like the dea making up statistics and facts with out backing them

  9. Becks October 4, 2007 at 10:29 am #

    Tell the Truth – Yes, that was another case of bad reporting by the Chronicle (surprise, surprise).

    I read the affidavit and am looking at it right now. What happened was that an anonymous email lead to the entire investigation. That ANONYMOUS email accused Tainted of many things. One of the accusations seems to be a throw away line accusing them of distributing ecstasy and cocaine.

    However, in the rest of the affidavit, which details months of investigations, no drugs were ever found besides marijuana. There was absolutely no evidence found of Tainted selling or even possessing ecstasy or cocaine. If there had been, don’t you think the DEA’s press release would have included that info? And don’t you think Mickey would be facing charges for these drugs?

    On another note, the press conference this morning was amazing and there should be lots of television, print, and radio news about this today. Mickey’s speech and his mother’s speech were incredibly moving and brought tears to the crowd’s eyes.

  10. Truth Teller October 5, 2007 at 7:08 am #

    WHAT A LOAD OF SHIT. It is obvious who you are Chris Bliss. A competitor and probably the one who wrote the infamous email that started all of this madness. COWARD. After speaking with Mickey’s mother at length there were never any charges of cocaine brought against him for cocaine EVER. His troubled youth and unfortunate incarceration stemmed from a night when he drank too much and went joyriding in an automobile. The bikes and meth are unsubstantiated and no where to be found on any of his arrest records. The lies in the affadavid are listed in the complaint as things that the snitch apparently “heard from a friend” and that friend is probably you loser. You are a spineless waste of flesh and karma will be there to greet you every day of your pathetic life.

  11. jrdong October 10, 2007 at 11:43 am #

    While I appreciate the time some of you spent actually researching this, it pains me to see others believing the media and even going as far to take it personally and slander these people’s names. Fortunately your ignorance sines through your blasts with your terrible writing skills. Hopefully everyone reading your messages realizes you have nothing to back up your anger and are venting. Howver what about the people that do listen to you? Can you really feel good about yourself knowing you are the root of these lies?
    To the rest of you, keep crossing your fingers for Mickey, Jessica and the others because this may be a long haul. I know they appreciate your support and love!

  12. jrdong October 10, 2007 at 12:05 pm #

    PS- Cesamet and Marinol sound great if you are using marijuana for chemo sickness, but what about those of us in chronic pain???

  13. Truth Teller October 18, 2007 at 7:26 pm #

    Marinol is 25 dollars for 10mg doses. A “Compassion Medicinal Edible” product contains 20-30 mg of thc according to the DEA website and sells for 10 bucks tops. Now let me do the math…..Ah, yes, Dan Quail’s company that makes marinol realized he was selling half of the medicine for 2.5 times the price. I see the conflict of interest. I wonder if that is who sent the anonymous email that began the investigation.

    • smart enough to know I'm dumb December 2, 2009 at 7:56 pm #

      First of all, I never post on these sites but the god aweful shit the truth couple is posting makes me sick. First of all marinol and other synthetics simply do not work. It is very naive for anyone to think they can recreate the medicinal qualities of cannabis in some lab in a matter of months. When it has taken thousands of years of evolution alongside the human brain, hence the development of cannaboid receptors. Second if you took let’s say the Dallas Cowboys new football stadium and filled entirely with greediest cocaine, marijuana etc. dealers in the world. It would not amount to the smallest fraction of the greed and pure evil which embodies the current pharmaceutical and health insurance regime that has a stranglehold on this great country. These are the people we need to be pointing our fingers at not the imaginary drug dealer selling to your 2nd grader on the playground.

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