Feds raid Spokane dispensaries as medical bill hits Washington gov's desk

Posted on May 1st, 2011 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

cannabisThe DEA conducted aggressive SWAT-style raids April 29 on three distribution facilities in Spokane, Wash., that provided medical cannabis to qualified patients. Earlier this month, numerous facilities shut down after US Attorney Michael Ormsby threatened  landlords in Spokane with seizure of their property if they continue to let their tenants provide medical cannabis. These actions come as the state is trying to pass Senate Bill 5073, which modifies its current medical marijuana law to set up a licensed distribution system.

"The governor should not buckle to federal pressure," said Steph Sherer, director of the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which is currently holding raid preparedness trainings across Washington. "Hundreds if not thousands of patients in Washington are now terrified and don't know where to get their medication. It's incumbent upon Governor Gregoire to stand up for the patients in her state and provide them with a means to safely obtain medical marijuana."

Ormsby also sent a letter to the governor on April 14 threatening state officials with prosecution if a distribution licensing system, such as that proposed by SB 5073, is adopted. In response, Gov. Christine Gregoire has said she will veto parts of the bill that "subject state workers to risk of criminal liability." Although the patient community has several concerns with the amended legislation, it is eager to implement a distribution licensing system.

Obama's Justice Department has now made threats to state and local public officials in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana and Washington.

As part of a coordinated national day of action in support of two medical marijuana patients surrendering to federal authorities on May 2, noon protests will be held at federal buildings that day in Seattle and Spokane. The Obama administration fought to impose five-year mandatory minimum prison sentences for Dr. Mollie Fry and her husband Dale Schafer. Fry is a breast cancer survivor, though both are qualified medical cannabis patients and both are in need of medical attention.

ASA gave President Obama a failing grade in a report card the group issued last week as part of its "Sick and Tired" campaign, calling on the federal government to address medical marijuana as a public health issue. Despite a Justice Department memo issued in October 2009, indicating a shift in the government's enforcement policy, the Obama administration has since then conducted nearly 100 raids in six medical marijuana states. "President Obama has given us broken promises and half-measures and patients deserve better," said ASA spokesperson Kris Hermes. (ASA, April 29)

Photo: Themadpothead


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