A marijuana activist group on Friday protested a federal law enforcement raid on a Mendocino County pot farm, saying it was protected by the county's new medical marijuana cultivation ordinance.
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed the Wednesday raid in Covelo, but a spokeswoman declined to comment on the details.
"We did conduct an enforcement operation, but everything is under court seal," said Casey McEnry, a spokeswoman for the DEA in San Francisco.
Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, a group pushing to ease marijuana laws, said, "This raid is clear evidence that the DEA is out of control."
The Covelo farm owned by Joy Greenfield, 68, was registered with Mendocino County authorities under an ordinance that allows medical marijuana collectives to grow up to 99 plants. The plants were being grown for a collective in San Diego called Light the Way, NORML said.
She paid a county application fee and the garden had been inspected by Mendocino sheriff's deputies, the group said. Greenfield was the county's first such applicant, NORML said.
Federal agents removed 99 plants and took a computer and cash, the group said. Greenfield wasn't there at the time.
Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman confirmed Friday that the property owner had the proper paperwork and the marijuana was legal in the eyes of the county.
"This was a federal operation and had nothing to do with local law enforcement," he said. "The federal government made a decision to go ahead and eradicate it."
He said conflicting county, state and federal marijuana laws create a problem for law enforcement. "They've created a huge gray area," Allman said.
He said federal drug investigators may have information about the Covelo operation that isn't known to local law enforcement.