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The police arrested eight people and seized more than a pound of marijuana at a medical marijuana club in the East Village last night, the police and the club's lawyer said.

Three of the people arrested were charged with criminal sale of marijuana, a felony, said Jerry Varson, a police spokesman.

Mr. Varson said that officers from the Manhattan narcotics unit happened to see two men selling marijuana in front of 130 East Seventh Street at 7 p.m. and followed them inside the building, where they found marijuana being sold in an apartment full of people.

The officers arrested the two men they had seen outside on charges of selling marijuana, and they also arrested one man inside on sale charges: Kenneth Toglia, 34, of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Mr. Toglia is a member of the Big Apple Medical Marijuana Buyers' Club and the apartment is the club's headquarters, said Stanley Cohen, the club's lawyer.

The club is about a year and a half old but is the descendant of several other medical marijuana clubs that have come and gone in the East Village and Lower East Side over the last 15 years, Mr. Cohen said.

Every week, Mr. Cohen said, chemotherapy patients, people with full- blown AIDS, and other sick people come to the club to buy marijuana, which is sold to them at cost. Medical marijuana's proponents say that the drug relieves nausea and many other pains associated with life-threatening illnesses and restores appetite.

Mr. Cohen said the police periodically raid such clubs to break them up.

Mr. Cohen said he doubted the police's contention that the officers inadvertently stumbled onto the club.

"This is a narcotics unit," he said. "They're not assigned to a particular precinct, they're assigned to special raids. In any case, if they are telling the truth, the case just went down the tubes because that would be an illegal search and seizure."

The men arrested on charges of selling marijuana in front of the building were Cesar Gonzalez, 18, of Monroe Street on the Lower East Side and Glenn Adams, 20, who is homeless, Mr. Varson said. The five other people arrested in the apartment were charged with simple possession and were released after being given summonses, Mr. Varson said.

MAP posted-by: Jo-D
Newshawk: Amanda
Pubdate: Thu, 09 Nov 2000
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2000 The New York Times Company
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Author: Andy Newman