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"If someone went after them, and they're doing what they say they're doing and providing this medicine for free, the backlash of them being prosecuted would be pretty substantial," Glew says. "Can you imagine that case? That's the kind of case you want as a lawyer."
For his part, Modiano claims he's not worried about the feds because the only thing the DEA will find if it raids his warehouse will be donated equipment—and maybe some sick people sitting around eating grilled chicken. He says he hopes to raise enough money from the growers he's working with to add more patients to the group's membership, four of whom died recently.
Modiano also hopes to buy a van so he can deliver cannabis to patients. Currently, members must go to different dispensaries to obtain their allotment of free marijuana. For security reasons, Modiano declined to state which dispensaries those are, and he wouldn't put me in touch with any of the growers who are helping Patient Med-Aid.
"I don't want to go to jail," he concludes. "I want to be protected, and I want my growers to be protected, too. They shouldn't have to go to jail for helping sick people. We're just trying to give some free medicine to some patients before they all drop dead."
If you think you qualify to join Patient Med-Aid, you can call Marla James at (714) 455-9946.
This article appeared in print as "Sick Enough to Smoke: A peek inside Orange County's most exclusive medical-marijuana club, one no one wants to join."