As Ken Estes surveyed the broken glass strewn across the floor of his cannabis club Thursday, he vowed he would not be "intimidated" by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
"I will either relocate or reopen within a month," promised the marijuana purveyor.
The club, Holistic Solutions at 216 Second St., was one of three dispensaries owned by Estes that was raided by federal agents early Wednesday morning. According to Estes, they also raided two of his growing operations, his home and the homes of three of his employees.
DEA Special Agent Casey McEnry has confirmed that several locations were searched, but cannot provide more details of the investigation because it is ongoing. She said no arrests have been made.
Estes has been in the medical-marijuana business since voters passed the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which legalized personal marijuana use for people suffering from ailments. However, marijuana use and sale still violates federal law, leaving cannabis clubs and local law enforcement agencies in limbo.
This is far from the first time Estes’ clubs and house have been raided, he said, but this raid has "really shaken" his employees and family. He said his 13-year-old twin boys and his 10-year-old daughter were in the house when it was raided.
Estes spent Thursday driving to each of his clubs and growing operations to survey the damage.
At the ground floor of his San Mateo business, bookshelves were lined with large glass jars with titles like "Sage," "Orange Peel" and "Catnip." These were untouched.
But a narrow cement stairway led down to a large cement basement. The ventilation system was ripped off the ceiling, duffel bags had been emptied and the safe had been opened. Estes said that $5,700 and 5 pounds of dried marijuana had been taken.