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A Portal to a story about Medical Marijuana, "Snake in the Grass" by Don Dupray     

Snake in the Grass

Photo by The Portland Tribune Newspaper, 2007

In November 2012, the DEA served a search warrant on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program offices, located in Portland Oregon. Its purpose was to obtain: “the names, addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, Oregon Driver's License numbers or other Government Issued ID numbers for PatientsGrowers and Caregivers in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program database or files," according to
the written warrant viewable online.

Now that the Snake, (the DEA) is in the Grass, the OMMP files, and cannabis patients are being bitten. The DEA has also been trying to obtain, personal medical records, (HIPPA protected) for many years. How do I know? Because they tried unsuccessfully to subpoena my personal medical records in 2007. The subpoena was refused by the medical office holding the records and subsequently quashed by the Oregon ACLU. But that didn't stop the DEA from coming after me, then a caregiver, growing legally for 70 patients who desperately needed my services.

Two days after a mysterious night time burglary of one of my grow houses, (which I chose not to report to local police) where a ventilation fan was pried loose, and wiring was cut, presumably to see what was inside, the DEA arrived in full force, guns drawn, automatic rifles at the ready, and served me with a bogus search warrant.While I stood handcuffed, looking down the barrel of an automatic rifle, various DEA ninjas unlawfully seized about $60,000 in growing equipment and patient medication.

I say mysterious burglary, because my trained female guard-dog, whom I depended on to alert me to intruders, was sleeping in her kennel just a few steps from the ventilation fan. My dog slept peacefully through the night, while the intruders pried and cut wires. This from a dog that could hear me rattle her food dish a half a block away. My only conclusion is that the burglars neutralized my dog in some way, thereby causing her to sleep, never letting out so much as a warning peep. She awoke the next morning unharmed, but as an alert guard dog, the fact that she never once made a sound indicates she was probably given some kind of sleeping medication, which may have been delivered through a silent, tranquilizer gun.

Because all my papers were in order and I was doing nothing illegal I was never prosecuted by the DEA but they now had “the names, addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, Oregon Driver's License numbers or other Government Issued ID number” for all of my patients!

Subsequently every one of my 70 patients received a chilling visit from DEA agents suggesting they testify against me. “For what?” was their astonished reply. “Don has done nothing but good things for us,” was their collective answer. Some were visited at their job, and when the DEA walks into your place of employment, your job generally walks out the door with them. The patients were robbed and I was robbed. Robbed by the DEA. Convinced that there was no further point in continuing to grow for people unable to grow for themselves I stopped being a caregiver in 2007.           

"Civil forfeiture allows government to take (in essence steal) and sell property without ever charging the owner with a crime or having to convict them of one, and thereby puts the stolen money in their collective pockets. It's the new cash-cow. Steal from the poor and keep the money.

Civil forfeiture is now a key strategy for the DEA."

But the snake wiggled into my yard again. Exactly 90 days after the first bogus search warrant was served, the DEA dressed like ninjas came crashing through my entry gate, guns drawn looking to steal from me a second time. This second warrant was even more bogus than the first one had been. The DEA agents reasoned, incorrectly,that during the following 90 days I must have grown another crop of medical marijuana and they would arrive just in time for harvest. How clever of them! I told the lead agent, Mr. Matthew Petty, that there was no growing equipment, no medicine, no hard drugs and no guns on the property. His answer spoke volumes to me. “Then we won't be here long,” he replied as they loaded about six bags of fertilizer they had missed stealing during the first raid.

Had the DEA done even one days surveillance on my house they would have known, concretely, that I was not growing marijuana. Had they bothered to check my electric bill they would have known I wasn't growing marijuana. Even a minimal investigation would have told them I was no longer growing. In seeming dejection, they left with my six bags of Black Gold fertilizer and I haven't seen them since.

But the snake keeps trying. October 2012 in Mendocino County California, Mendocino County officials retained an attorney after a federal subpoena demanded “names, and locations of pot gardeners, county bank records, any and all illegal correspondence, etc.” Attorneys for the county indicated the grand jury subpoena “stepped all over medical record privacy laws.”

(More like stomped all over medical record privacy laws as they tried to stomp on mine.) The county attorney stated “no personal identifying information will be reported to the U.S. Attorney.” But the snake is slippery and slimy and keeps trying to get into the grass.

One of my industry friends, James Bowman of Southern Oregon's High Hopes farm, was similarly raided, and with heavy equipment the DEA uprooted many marijuana plants and tore his farm apart. They also uprooted his immediate family of workers supporting the cause, putting them all out of work. Bowman was never prosecuted. Instead the feds filed civil forfeiture proceedings against the property. Civil forfeiture allows government to take (in essence steal) and sell property without ever charging the owner with a crime or having to convict them of one, and thereby puts the stolen money in their collective pockets. It's the new cash-cow. Steal from the poor and keep the money.

Civil forfeiture is now a key strategy for the DEA. It is so much easier, for the snake--no criminal case necessary--no trial, just point guns and steal. The court papers they file tells the judge the property is to be seized because it was “used to commit and facilitate violations of the controlled substance laws and therefore are subject to forfeiture.

Used to commit and facilitate violations,” has not been proved because there was no criminal trial. Point guns, raid, scare the be-Jesus out of people, steal and then put the money in your pocket. Isn't this how the Mafia works? And this is the US DEA.

Now that Washington state has made marijuana legal to grow, use and sell, the DEA is busy violating the rights of those poor citizens, by conducting raids on grow houses and collectives. In Olympia, the state capitol, collective owner Casey Lee, thought he was being robbed again when he saw seven vehicles speeding into his parking lot recently. That is how the DEA shows up, multiple vehicles, guns pointed, coming at you like gang busters. Lee has not been charged as of this writing.

Seattle area DEA agents recently raided ten homes (grow houses) in Snohomish and King counties, as part of a crackdown, targeting marijuana grow operations, (aren't they legal now?) that have been increasing in Washington state. Increasing perhaps because it's legal?

Presently Washington has no registry of medical marijuana patients, but initiative 502 will require recreational growers and sellers to register with the Washington State Liquor Control Board. The snake must be wriggling and hissing in delight at the prospect of having more records to snoop in.

Do our citizens have any protection against these lawless slitherers, called the DEA? Yes! The best way to dispatch a snake is to cut off its head. I think there are two ways to do this, two ways to defeat or avoid them. First, one way is to opt out of any program that keeps records. Don't participate in the record keeping sieve the Oregon Medical Marijuana program has been forced into. Drop out by not renewing your medical marijuana card. Return to the black market. The black market doesn't keep records. Perhaps the black market is more inconvenient, but better than facing the armed snake come to steal. I am now just one of many that have decided to un-register, in order to protect myself.

The second is to awaken each County Sheriff to their powers, powers given only to Sheriff’s under the law. Historical documents and court cases, information that is on-line, confirms that the high-Sheriff is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in the county and has no superior. Your local county Sheriff is elected by you the people, and is answerable to you alone. No federal or state agency has any authority in the county unless your Sheriff permits it.

If, in the Sheriff's opinion, a proposed action (by federal authorities,) is unconstitutional, the Sheriff is duty bound and fully authorized to block it and may take the feds into custody (arrest them) if necessary. U.S. District Court decision, case No. 2:96-cv-099J (2006) says “The court confirms and asserts that “the duly elected sheriff of a county is the highest law enforcement official within a county and has law enforcement powers exceeding that of any other state or federal official.”

In 2006 I ran for Sheriff of Multnomah County Oregon on the platform of not cooperating in any county involvement in the administration of the so-called Patriot Act, not allowing the DEA to operate in Multnomah County, not allowing any inter-agency drug investigation without my personal supervision, not allowing any marijuana prosecutions, and encouraging my fellow county sheriffs to join in my efforts to oust the feds.

The state of Oregon has 36 counties, each with a Sheriff. Washington state has 39 counties. California has 58 counties. Think what it would be like if these 103 high-sheriffs of Washington, Oregon and California, acted in concert to make sure the US Constitution was obeyed. This is all it would take to make a headless DEA snake,wiggle, wither and die.

We must get back to the ideals of our founding fathers. Having fled the tyranny of kings, they crafted the Constitution, a document carefully designed to protect us from the on-going, rights diminishing, power grabbing Federal Government. I can think of no better way to re-assert states rights than for a united front of 103 Western Sheriffs to put the Federal government back in its place. Even if that place is a jail cell!

                                                        Works Cited

Stang, Alan. (2009) “The Sheriff More Powerful Than the President.” ( )

Thompson, Richard. (2013). “DEA Raids Marijuana Dispensaries in Puget Sound Region.” (

Cromby, Noelle. (2012) “Southern Oregon Medical Marijuana Farm Raided By Federal
         Drug Agents.”  (


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