How to Survive a Marijuana Raid (or Just Having Some Weed on You)


Well-Known Member
Jun 21, 2007
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Just how legal is marijuana, anyway? So legal that news of grow house raids and Emerald Triangle busts -- such as the monthlong, federally overseen Operation Full Court Press -- are regular features of the news. In these very web pages, we've recounted tales of numerous legal medical cannabis growers, providers and users who have run afoul of the law only to be vindicated in court -- when money and grows have all been sacrificed.

Partly in response, several of the city's marijuana advocacy groups hosted raid training sessions last week. SF Weekly attended one of these primers for pot purveyors' encounters with cops, and what did we learn? UN Plaza is federal property, nobody wins when there's pot smoke at the bus stop, and the mere smell of smoke can be probable cause.

Oh, and how to sit when someone's pointing an assault rifle at you.

Some other things we learned ....

Carry your medical recommendation at all times:
So you paid good money for that doctor's note, and you suffer from the appropriate ailment which makes you a "seriously ill Californian," according to Proposition 215. Don't leave home without it!

Federal property: Avoid it.
A good place to start is government property, as in, never go there. Ocean Beach might seem like a fine place to light up a spliff, but any park ranger can issue a ticket or haul your stoned *** to jail, because places like that are not San Francisco. It's federal property, and medical marijuana isn't something federal authorities recognize. This goes for the federal building on Golden Gate Avenue as well as the nearby fountain at UN Plaza.

Is smell probable cause?
If San Franciscans called the police every time a waft of burnt cannabis aroused olfactory attention, overworked 911 dispatchers would likely strike. However, scent has proved enough for police to perform searches and judges to sign warrants, according to defense attorney Derek St. Pierre, whose clients learned this the hard way. Do what you can to avoid drawing attention to yourself. Of course, if your situation involves fans, lights and the 24/7 smell of fresh plants consistent with a grow house, you'll need another line of defense.

When the knocks come, don't bother to flush the stash
In other words, don't pull a Karen. If and when law enforcement does come to your door, it had better be a door or entryway you wouldn't mind showing to police. Basically, if they can see rows of plants from your doorstep, you're pooched. If they're there about music, offer to turn it down. If they do mention the presence of cannabis, show your medical paperwork, but don't offer up anything freely.

"Put your cop glasses on for a second," as St. Pierre put it. No police officer can enter your home without a search warrant. But if they do have a warrant, they're probably gonna come in.

Don't talk to strangers
If those strangers are the police, the only reason you should open your mouth is to say: "I do not consent to a search." Sitting on the floor of a grow room in handcuffs is not the time for a conversation with law enforcement. Nor is the telephone call some patients receive when a legal grow that displayed their medical recommendations is raided. Offer up nothing, except those seven words. There are probably other things on your mind as police tear apart your property, but consider it a legally binding alternative to "serenity now."

Don't smoke in the car. Or near buses
Transit and THC do not mix. You can get a DUI for driving while stoned. Nor are bus stops good places to toke up.

The best part of all of this information: You'll probably never have to use it, according to Dean Holter of Green Diamond Consulting.

"In San Francisco," he says, "You're more likely to get robbed than raided." Of course, that doesn't mean every grower should start packing -- unless they want to trigger a weapons charge.

Do not attempt to use this blog post as a defense. Talk to a lawyer like St. Pierre, or visit Americans for Safe Access for more raid defense tips.

Good luck.



Just a Dawg
Jan 6, 2006
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Good read until I realized...that is for med legal states...those rules (probable cause and other defenses) DO NOT apply in south eastern states.

Hungarian Gypsy

Cosmo Kush is the best!
Jun 2, 2011
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I think you can grow your own crops in CA. But only 99 plants per crop. Isn't that a weird number. Why not just make it 100?



Yo Ho Ho N,

I once read this, and thought it was pretty good stuff. Maybe you will concur.
1. Should Leo show up at your front door, and start knocking, you yell through the locked door, " I don't talk with cops, and if you want to talk with me have the local dispatcher call me on the phone.
2. Say to them then, " If you have a warrant then just kick the door down, other than that go away I'm not in the mood to entertain company".

I loved reading that, but have never had to use the idea. This is a good subject to discuss since even in medical states we still see so many problems. Sad stuff demands good brains in gear.

smoke in peace


Jul 6, 2011
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Where I'm from, being polite and cooprative are the most powerful tools in the arsenal. That's gotten me out of every bad "situation". With the slightest aggrevation, those bobbies will make it their business to hurt you.

Of course, being responsible and just keeping things on the D\L goes a long way.


Feb 27, 2007
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That was good info. I was in San Fran saturday on a fed beach and didn't even think about it being fed. I fired up my pipe often as usual. Not that it would stop me but good to know if a ranger is near to be careful.

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