Narcotics agents raid 'medical marijuana club'

Rhys Saunders

A Springfield man’s “medical marijuana club” was raided Wednesday night, less than 14 hours after he announced the club to the news media.

Springfield police raided a home about 7 p.m. Wednesday and arrested Scott Carriere, 40, according to Deputy Chief Clay Dowis.

Carriere will be charged in connection with growing several marijuana plants inside the house, Dowis said, although police did not indicate how much was recovered.

Jail records Wednesday night indicate Carriere is being investigated on suspicion that he had between 30 and 500 grams of marijuana and had produced more than 50 plants.

About 15 minutes before narcotics agents raided Carriere’s house, Carriere spoke by phone with a State Journal-Register reporter in defense of his club, which he said charged membership fees.

Carriere claimed he believed the operation, which opened Monday, was legal. Carriere said the club had three members, although he did not disclose their names.

“You pay your membership fees, and the marijuana is actually free,” Carriere said. “I don’t charge for the marijuana at all. It’s medicine.”

During the interview, Carriere said police had been harassing him earlier Wednesday night. Two cars that left his house between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. were stopped and one was searched, he told the reporter.

“It just seems like the police are not listening to this at all,” he said. “The U.S. attorney last week said they would not prosecute for medical marijuana. If he’s allowing one state to prescribe it, it recognizes the use of it.”

“I want a legal business of distributing medicine,” Carriere said. “I don’t want to be out selling pot.”

Carriere did not elaborate on his claim that a U.S. attorney had said there would be no prosecution for medical marijuana.

A spokeswoman for central Illinois U.S. Attorney Rodger Heaton said Heaton has made no such statement.

Carriere said the only stipulation to join his club was that members had to sign a form indicating they would use the drug only for medicinal purposes. The form also indicated the members agreed to allow Carriere to grow marijuana for them.

Carriere also claimed to have paid $27 to obtain a business permit from Sangamon County.

Carriere said he grew plants based on patients’ needs. The amount varied from week to week, he said, but the amount grown never exceeded more than four to five plants at a time.

“I grow plants that are half an ounce each,” he said. “They’re little bitty plants.”

Carriere said he has been using marijuana for 12 years. A California doctor previously recommended it to relieve back spasms, he said.

Rhys Saunders can be reached at (217) 788-1521 orrhys.saunders@sj-r.com.

Carriere's e-mail to the news media about his 'medical marijuana club'

Sent at 5:33 a.m. Wednesday:

"I have opened a medical marijuana club in Springfield. I just wanted you to know. It is currently being run out of my residence. The address is (he gave an address in the 1100 block of North Third Street). I am accepting customers and suppliers. Thank you.

"P.S. I have filed the paperwork at the courthouse under my name and address, the name of the business is Medical Marijuana Compassionate caregivers Club."