cross posted at mLaw
Reports have emerged that the Drug Enforcement Agency, a federal agency under the auspices of President Barack Obama’s Justice Department, is in the midst of conducting a broad based ‘sting’ raiding cannabis pharmacies in Washington state.
The raids, three of which were carried out by dozens of gun-brandishing heavily armored federal police officials over the course of the past few days, resulted in the seizure of cash, medical cannabis and employee cell phones, among other items present at the cannabis dispensaries.
An employee who works for the Bayside Collective in Olympia Washington where federal agents packed into seven unmarked police vehicles stormed the facility earlier this week told NBC News that she was ordered to appear before a federal grand jury in September and that the raids were the result of an on-going two year investigation.
Another employee of Bayside, speaking through his attorney to NBC News, said that he overheard one of the federal law enforcement raiders say that the DEA will raid a total of 18 cannabis pharmacies in this targeted sweep of dispensaries in Washington state. The pharmacy employee said that the agent asked the employees in a mocking fashion that, “this is your second raid…why do you keep doing this?” The federal agent further threatened the pharmacy employees, “things are going to be hell for you.”
Washington state and Coloradan voters decided to legalize cannabis for personal consumption by adults, in the same way alcohol is legal across the United States, in November 2012. These actions were taken using the mechanisms of popular small-d democracy, passed by overwhelming majorities in state wide referenda. Since that time, the Obama administration has put forward a drug policy paper that suggests that cannabis shares the severely addicting qualities of the drugs heroin and crack cocaine and stood behind US Attorneys in the Justice Department as it earlier this year sent demand letters to more than 100 cannabis pharmacies in California threatening jail sentences for owners of up to 40 years unless they shutter their pharmacy doors amongst other action’s that demonstrate the administration’s fetish for the prohibition of the medically useful drug cannabis.
One employee in a cannabis pharmacy that was subject to this week’s targeted sweep told NBC News that he was humiliated by the actions of the federal government law enforcers because he is in the business of medical cannabis provision, quite simply, to help sick patients. The pharmacy employee went on to say that the federal drug enforcement storm troopers “don’t get to see the cancer patients.”