- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 29, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Federal agents said they shut down a factory that made marijuana-laced barbecue sauce, chocolate-covered pretzels and other “enhanced” snacks intended for medical users of the drug.

The Drug Enforcement Administration said it arrested three persons Wednesday and was looking for a fourth who operated Oakland, Calif.-based Tainted Inc.

Agents also seized 460 marijuana plants and laced products including candy bars, cookies, marshmallow pies, ice cream, peanut butter, jelly, energy drinks and “Rice Krispy treats.”

Tainted Inc. was started by Michael Martin, 33, of El Sobrante as a small operation that made laced chocolate truffles. When it was raided Wednesday, the company was shipping products to medical marijuana dispensaries throughout California and in Seattle; Vancouver, British Columbia and Amsterdam.

Authorities said the operation also had ties to Los Angeles pot clubs and believe it had ordered 4 tons of chocolate over the past two years to make marijuana-laced candy.

Those arrested were Jessica Sanders, Michael Anderson and Diallo McLinn. Mr. Martin is a fugitive, authorities said.

The raids of the factory and four San Francisco Bay Area houses stemmed from a two-year investigation and growing police concern that the legalization of medicinal marijuana in several states has caused a proliferation of large-scale marijuana-lacing operations.

Laced snacks are often more potent and longer lasting than smoked marijuana. Federal authorities contend that marijuana is an illegal drug, no matter how it used or who uses it, and they don’t honor the state laws.

“This appears to be represent, once again, the federal government taking umbrage with the fact that California has legalized medical marijuana for medical patients,” Miss Sanders’ attorney, Randolph Daar, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

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