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After DEA Raid, Medical Marijuana Providers Struggle With Patient Demand

October 15, 2011

By Erin Maxson & Yessenia Anderson

ASHLAND, Ore.  – Local suppliers and patients say the target on their back is painful after the latest Drug Enforcement Administration bust of a medical marijuana grow yanked 100 plants out of the ground. 20 more cannabis patients lost their medicine for the year.

The waiting list at The Greenery in Ashland is long for patients needing medical marijuana, and it’s bound to get even longer.

Marina Ashrow is a patient and a volunteer at The Greenery. With Friday’s bust she expects to hear more of what customers have already shared the last three weeks. ” They’ll say, ‘all of my medicine just got stolen.’ And I say, ‘did someone come into your house and did they take all your medicine? Did some group of hooligans come in and take all your medicine?’ ‘No, it was the federal government.’”

The three grows which DEA agents removed provided medical marijuana for specific patients in the area. The loss of those plants means the loss of their medicine for a whole year.

As a member of The Greenery’s Board of Directors Jeffrey Carey only sees three options for the patients who lost their medicine: they suffer, return to prescription drugs, or turn to the black market. That’s why he says “it’s just another win for the drug cartels.”
With the same demand but less supply, and more danger, Carey doesn’t think the growers will return. “The caregivers are not going to produce it on the scale that it’s needed,” he said.

Ashrow, who gets sick when taking prescription pain pills, doesn’t know what she’ll do if she loses her supply of medicinal cannabis. “For me to have found an alternative is the best thing ever, and for me to think that maybe that alternative is being taken away, it scares me. It scares me a lot.”