Federal DEA Agents Raid Medical Marijuana Farm

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, September 18 2012 at 7:13 PM, Updated: Tue, September 18 2012 at 7:42 PM

Federal Drug Enforcement agents uprooted hundreds of medical marijuana plants in what's being called the first big raid of the year.

A back hoe ripped hundreds of medical marijuana plants out of the ground at The High Hopes Farm in Ruch. The raid started around nine o'clock, Tuesday morning.

DEA agents served a federal warrant at the medical marijuana farm. Patients and fellow growers tell NBC 5 News the farm is run by James Bowman.

"He was a savior to many. James Bowman, The High Hopes Farm, the patients are losing something today," said a patient who receives medical marijuana from the farm. She did not want to be identified.

"James Bowman as far as I know was in compliance. He's very open about his farm," said Lori Duckworth, Executive Director of Southern Oregon NORML.

In the past, sources say, James Bowman himself said he grew only half of the allowable amount per patient card.

"He had two hundred patients," began Duckworth.

"He only grows, to my understanding, 2-3 plants per patient," she continued.

Over in front of the farm's driveway, a handful of protesters holding signs congregated.

"It's familiar from last year. They started doing raids around this time when the plants are their largest. It just takes a step back from progress we're making," said Chelsea Hopkins who works at the Greenery in Ashland. It's a resource center which distributes medical marijuana.

"We're going to see a need for more medicine for patients losing medications," said Hopkins.

Some patients said they will now have to turn to prescription medication.

"So here we are, gonna be drugged up off pharmaceuticals versus what God gave us, what James gave us, what the farm gave us," the medical marijuana patient who did not want to be identified.

However, a neighbor who didn't want to be on camera said she's relieved.

"It's an illegal endeavor going on over there," said the neighbor who did not want her name published.

"I'm happy finally somebody is doing something about it," she said.

DEA agents on scene would make no comment on the operation.

Right now, medical marijuana is legal in the state of Oregon. However, federally, it's still considered an illegal drug.

This year Washington, Colorado, and Oregon have measures on the ballot to legalize marijuana.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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