DEA Raids in Seattle: Marijuana Dispensaries Targeted in Washington

Friday, 26 Jul 2013 06:18 AM

By Robin Farmer

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DEA raids in Seattle and other Puget Sound areas targeted medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington — a state that legalized adult possession of the substance last November.

Under federal law, marijuana remains illegal.

Search warrants were executed in King, Thurston, and Pierce counties in an operation ended Wednesday, Drug Enforcement Administration spokeswoman Jodie Underwood told The Associated Press.

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Underwood would not disclose any details of the operation.

Agents “came in with warrants and took everything,” said Seattle medical-marijuana attorney Douglas Hiatt, The Seattle Times reported. He said the targeted dispensaries included Seattle Cross, Tacoma Cross, Lacey Cross, and Bayside Collective in Olympia.

Bayside employee Addy Norton said agents pointed guns in her face as they entered, she told The Olympian. Norton said agents told her the raid was part of a two-year probe, the AP reports, and that she has to appear before a federal grand jury in Seattle in September.

Casey Lee, an employee at the Bayside Collective, said DEA agents served him with a search warrant and seized nearly a dozen plants. They also took about a quarter pound of marijuana set aside for patients as well as employee cell phones.

“I don’t think we’re doing anything wrong here,” Lee told The Olympian. “This is really disturbing. We just opened last month.”

No arrests were made and computers were left alone, he said.

“They said we are being federally subpoenaed,” Lee said.

Washington law allows marijuana “collectives” to provide marijuana to patients if they meet certain criteria. Washington law allows possession of up to an ounce of marijuana.

Reaction from online commenters at The Seattle Times both criticized and supported the raids.

“Hey ‘Governor’ Inslee, Do your job. Stand up for the citizens of Washington. Tell the feds they've overstepped their bounds and demand of the President an explanation for how and why this happened, and a roadmap of how he will prevent such future abuses. We have laws in this state," said one commenter.

But it was “about time for the Feds to act on their promise,” wrote another reader. “Just because the State made it legal, does not mean that all is good. The drug dealers/peddlers/shopkeepers were warned of their violation of Federal Law. Those that did not heed the written warnings found themselves with new visitors at their steps."

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Related stories:

Colorado Asks U.S. to Halt Medical Marijuana Raids

Democrats Introduce Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana

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