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NEWS ARTICLES ABOUT GENESIS 1:29 & Robert Schmidt

09/13 Press Democrat article

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09/26 LA Times article

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PressDemArticle1
    Feds raid Sebastopol pot farm; 6 detained

    DEA seizes thousands of plants; Petaluma man accused of assaulting agent
    September 13, 2002

    By JEREMY HAY
    THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

    SEBASTOPOL -- Federal agents Thursday raided a ranch on the outskirts of Sebastopol, carting away thousands of mature marijuana plants and arresting the owner of a Petaluma pot club.

    It was one of the largest marijuana seizures on the North Coast in recent memory.

    At least six people were being questioned, but only one had been arrested by late Thursday.

    Robert Schmidt, 51, owner of the Petaluma marijuana buyers club, was held on suspicion of assaulting a Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

    One agent, who insisted on anonymity, said Schmidt was arrested after he tried to strip another agent of his firearm.

    Schmidt had rented the six-acre property since March. His Petaluma club, Genesis 1:29, also was raided Thursday.

    A Chevrolet Blazer loaded with what one agent said were computer hard drives from the club drove up and parked beside the ranch house while agents were taking a lunch break from cutting down marijuana plants with chain saws.

    Crossbows and knives also were seized at the ranch, agents said.

    Neighbors said Schmidt was growing marijuana for Genesis and numerous other clubs around the Bay Area that sell marijuana for medical use.

    California voters approved an initiative in 1996 allowing medical use of marijuana with approval from a physician. But possession of marijuana remains a federal offense, and the Justice Department has stepped up enforcement since the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a legal challenge last year.

    Medical marijuana activists condemned Thursday's raid, saying it would endanger an amicable relationship they have developed with local law enforcement agencies.

    In 2001, Sonoma County District Attorney Mike Mullins said he wouldn't prosecute small-scale growers who could show a viable medical marijuana claim. Under county guidelines, people with physician approval may have up to 99 plants or three pounds of dried marijuana.

    "Trust has built up between the Sheriff's Department and the medical marijuana community, and the DEA, by these kinds of actions, really puts that at risk," said Ernest "Doc" Knapp, spokesman for the Sonoma Alliance for Medical Marijuana.


    David Charlebois of Sebastopol, who owns the ranch, said Schmidt told him he was going to grow corn. He had suspicions about the operation but didn't confirm that Schmidt was growing marijuana until Wednesday.

    Although he supports medical use of marijuana and called Schmidt an excellent tenant, Charlebois said he'll consult an attorney about evicting him.

    "That's my retirement investment over there, so I have to protect the property," he said.

    Throughout the day, the pungent aroma of marijuana mingled with the sweet smell of Gravenstein apples from a nearby orchard as about a dozen armed agents took down a crop they estimated at about 3,000 plants. Neighbors said Schmidt told them he had more than 5,000 plants.

    "Is this the medicinal part?" one agent could be heard saying, his joke followed by a chain saw's loud grinding.

    Officials at the DEA and the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco declined comment, refusing even to confirm that a raid had taken place or that Schmidt had been arrested.


    Neighbors, who asked not to be named, said they began complaining about Schmidt a month ago to county authorities and were told he'd been under investigation for a year and a half.


    Some neighbors said Schmidt had been open, even somewhat "of a braggart" about his operation.

    "He said he has around 5,400 plants and it's worth millions of dollars," said one woman. "He's very proud of what he's doing, trying to provide marijuana to patients."

    One neighbor said the conflict wasn't with Schmidt or with medical marijuana.

    Their concern was the large quantity of marijuana being grown in a residential area. They were worried particularly about the potential for violence that can accompany the valuable crop.


    In 1999, armed robbers invaded Schmidt's Petaluma home, tying up Schmidt and four other occupants, including two children, before making off with marijuana being grown for his club.

    Last year, in response to pressure from the city and neighborhood complaints, Schmidt moved the club to a commercial office park on South Point Boulevard in east Petaluma.

    Over the past year, the DEA has conducted at least four raids in Sonoma County targeting pot clubs and self-described medical marijuana advocates and growers.

    Schmidt, a former welder, has said he suffers from asbestosis, a lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. He went to federal prison in the 1970s for smuggling marijuana from South America.

    In 1996, after being arrested in Petaluma for growing pot at his home, he opted for a drug treatment program instead of battling the charges in court as a way to test the newly-passed Proposition 215.

    News researcher Michele Van Hoeck contributed to this story. You can reach Staff Writer Jeremy Hay at 521-5212 or jhay@pressdemocrat.com.

    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/local/news/13pot_a1.html

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"For too long our nation's teens have been getting the wrong message about marijuana. Youth popular culture has trivialized the real harm of marijuana in kids,"
US Drug Czar John Walters, September 18, 2002

We agree, let’s talk about the REAL Harm of marijuana in kids, dogs, and people’s lives!

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