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Federal raid on California marijuana dispensary has cannabis advocates clamoring for answers

Medical marijuana advocates are up in arms over yesterday's federal raid of a marijuana provider in northern California, claiming that the action is at odds with a policy change announced last week by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents arrived at Emmalyn's California Cannabis Clinic in San Francisco's South of Market district, confiscating marijuana plants, lights, and other cultivation equipment as about a dozen people protested outside, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Emmalyn's had reportedly been operating under a temporary permit issued by the San Francisco Department of Public Health. A DEA spokesperson told the Associated Press that the clinic may be in violation of federal and state laws, but refused to provide any other details of the case.

The raid comes just one week after Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department had no intention of going after marijuana providers that adhere to laws in California and other states where medicinal marijuana use is permitted. Holder's statement signaled a dramatic turn-around from the Bush administration's tough stance against cannabis use -- or so marijuana advocates thought.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a Washington D.C. lobbying organization, the raid raises serious questions about the Obama administration's new policy. "It is disturbing that, despite the DEA's vague claims about violations of state and federal laws, they apparently made no effort to contact the local authorities who monitor and license medical marijuana providers," Aaron Smith, MPP's California policy director, said in a statement issued today.

Image © iStockphoto/dave9296

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