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DEA raids Washington marijuana dispensaries in cities that set marijuana as lowest enforcement priority.

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator November 15, 2011

    Click here for more coverage of Washington
    Multiple news outlets are reporting DEA and local officials raiding over a dozen dispensaries in the Seattle-area counties of King, Thurston, and Pierce in Washington State.

    The Olympian reports:

    The Thurston County Narcotics Task Force served search warrants at five medicinal marijuana dispensaries Tuesday morning and shut them down, according to a police spokesman.

    The News-Tribune reports:

    Five dispensaries were targeted in Thurston County and five in Pierce County, law enforcement officials reported. So far, no arrests have been reported from the searches in Pierce and Thurston counties.

    The warrants targeted locations that are suspected of not complying with state law on medical marijuana, Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

    “The places we hit are not compliant with state law so we initiated enforcement,” he said. “There are facilities and people that are in compliance with the law that we did not hit.”

    KOMO reports:

    Medical marijuana activist group ‘Sensible Washington’ tells KOMO News searches have been conducted so far at Seattle Cannabis Co-op, Game Collective, Tacoma Cross, Lacey Cross and Seattle Cross among others.

    KOMO News asked DEA spokeswoman Jodie Underwood if agents were serving search warrants on dispensaries in other counties as well and she acknowledged agents were serving several search warrants locally.

    Remember, these raids are taking place in Tacoma, which just had an election last week on this very issue of marijuana law enforcement:

    (Seattle Times) Tacoma voters easily passed citywide ballot Initiative No. 1 — the measure seeking to make “marijuana or cannabis offenses … the lowest enforcement priority” of the city.

    After Tuesday night’s count, 65 percent of voters favored the measure, while 35 percent cast no votes.

    And Seattle, which had made marijuana law enforcement its cops’ lowest priority in 2003 by a 58% vote:

    (Seattle P-I) Since Seattle voters famously made the Emerald City a bit greener by mandating that cops mellow out when it comes to marijuana possession busts, a funny thing has happened.

    Nothing. Nada. Nil. No crazy hopheads running amok with “reefer madness.” No groundswell of support to legalize the drug (at least no more than usual), and no discernible protest by law enforcement that a pro-drug message effectively has been sent — or received.

    “I’d say it’s had little to no effect,” said [former] City Attorney Tom Carr, an outspoken opponent of Initiative 75, the 2003 ballot measure that directed Seattle police to make low-level pot busts their lowest priority. “And that’s good. It hasn’t been a problem. You can tell by the numbers.”

    Seattle is so accepting of marijuana that the new city attorney, Pete Holmes, won’t even prosecute you for personal possession and believes marijuana should be legalized, as does the mayor, Mike McGinn.  Even the Seattle City Council is unanimous in their support for medical marijuana dispensaries.

    The people of Washington State don’t seem to have as much problem with marijuana as the people of Washington, D.C.

    59 Responses to “DEA raids Washington marijuana dispensaries in cities that set marijuana as lowest enforcement priority.”

    1. TheOracle says:

      Just in time for Weed Wars!

      Just in time for the Feds to waste more money on cannabis prohibition!

      That fuckin’ supercommittee had better fuckin’ slash their budget with wording that disallows any time or money to be spent on cannabis prohibition, putting it the lowest fuckin’ priority!

      And, the fuckin’ supercommittee (fuckin’ Toomey) had better recommend ending cannabis prohibition.

      That money could be used toward federal grants for jobs, or public education, or to bail out distressed cities.

      DEA suck!

    2. doctordrewl says:

      It’s pretty clear… the Cartels don’t like the competition… and since they’re in bed with the Feds and the Big Banks… well guess what. No soup for you.

    3. Steve says:

      If Ron Paul were president this BS would not be happening. A recent Rasmussen poll puts him in a dead heat with Obama, the best showing by ANY Republican candidate/clown in a heads up match with Barry. Why is this not common knowledge? Why isn’t the media making a big deal of this?

    4. Dr. Greensleeves says:

      Guys, as much as I hate seeing this happen, this:

      “Remember, these raids are taking place in Tacoma, which just had an election last week on this very issue of marijuana law enforcement”

      …holds absolutely no water when we’re dealing with the DEA. As much as I hate to say that, it’s a sad but true fact now. The Feds are looking to make us miserable. We can’t let them do that.

      This is very upsetting to see this going on. Thanks to our benevolent leader(oi!) this is probably not the last time either. Thanks for being such a lame-duck Mr. Obama. Damn hypocrite!

      [Russ responds: My purpose in juxtaposing the Seattle and Tacoma lo-pri initiatives vs. the DEA raids was not to imply that the former would make any difference to the latter. With my concluding sentence I thought I’d illustrated my intent to use that juxtaposition to highlight how little power we have at the local level to control our own destiny on the matter.]

    5. Jen from Spokane, WA says:

      I live about 300 miles away from Seattle, on the east side of Washington state. Washington state isn’t as enlightened as you think. Our dispensaries were raided in May of this year, with the cooperation of local law enforcement, and have yet to re-open. Several former owners are going to jail, and many patients have no place to go to for their medication. Many of us drive to Seattle, but that is a hardship for numerous patients.

      I truly believe that Seattle’s refusal (at the same time the Spokane busts were occurring)to allow local law enforcement to assist the DEA was the major factor in keeping the dispensaries open in King County. However, not every county or jurisdiction in Washington has a Mike McGinn, and Governor Christine Gregoire vetoed major parts of a medical marijuana bill that would have protected the dispensaries and their operators. I am told she did so in order to pay off a political debt.

      Let your elected officials including sheriff, chief of police, county prosecuting attorney, etc. exactly how you feel about using your local law enforcement (paid for by *your* tax dollars)to assist the DEA in closing dispensaries. If the local police don’t back-up the DEA agents, they are hesitant to complete the bust. I guess they don’t want to waste taxpayer’s money on federal marshals.

    6. Little Gypsy says:

      I thought the government was broke. Why don’t they quit wasting our money on fighting a benign herb?

    7. BIG AL says:

      I’ll probally get beat up by one of the Reps. from NORML for saying this but, what’s the big deal here ? What if a liquor store was shut down because they were not in compliance with State law or a grocery store for selling spoiled meat & milk ? Would you have a cow then ? Let’s not jump to conclusions until we here all the facts………are they paying their taxes . Does there medicine contain pesticides ? Or ?

      Read this again,

      ” The warrants targeted locations that are suspected of not complying with state law on medical marijuana ” , Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

      “The places we hit are not compliant with state law so we initiated enforcement,” he said. “There are facilities and people that are in compliance with the law that we did not hit.”

      Of course as much as the Government likes to lie to the people we may never know the true reason why they were raided .

    8. ken says:

      What we in Wsahington state need is a governor who is willing to stand up to the federal govt even with our own state defense forces if necessary. We are one of the last states left that has a state militia for this exact purpose, protecting the constitutional rights and state laws of Washington state residents and voters,,,
      When US attorneys threatened to prosecute any state employees that wouldve been regulating and protecting dispensaries and grows under last summer’s new laws, Gregoire should have said, just try it,,,

      Federal law does not trump state law, in essence that was the core of what the “American” revolution was all about, neither should trump the other. They are equal and neither should be impinged upon the other. We need new state govt. at the top, I dont care what political party they belong to as long as they have the guts and brains to protect our rights at every cost. It should be really simple, on federal lands and buildings, federal laws apply, on any other state or private property, state laws apply,,

    9. joad says:

      Weed prohibition is like alcohol prohibition. It’s the control freaks against the lovers of liberty. Eventually we will win. But how many lives have to be ruined in the process.

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