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DEA raids Washington medical marijuana clinics

Saturday, August 24, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: DEA raids, medical marijuana, Washington

Last November, shortly after voters in Colorado and Washington State approved measures legalizing marijuana use in their states, President Barack Obama - who has admitted to smoking pot in the past - signaled that the federal government did not have much interest in pursuing the matter, despite the fact that recreational pot use remains a federal crime.

"We've got bigger fish to fry," Obama famously said in an interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters. "It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it's legal."

By now, scores of Americans know that Obama is a master of misdirection and subterfuge, both political techniques he learned, and learned well, from his very own "community organization" guru, Saul Alinsky. So it should be no surprise to learn that, despite what Obama said, his Drug Enforcement Administration is, in fact, busting businesses that dispense dope.

So much for 'bigger fish to fry'

According to NBC News, DEA agents raided a number of medical marijuana dispensaries in late July in Washington State. Per the report:

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Seattle office confirmed in a brief statement that "several search warrants were executed today involving marijuana storefronts" in the Puget Sound region around Seattle. It gave no further details, and the number of raids remained unclear ...

Subsequent reports said the DEA only raided four shops, and that the raids "were a continuation of an investigation that became public in 2011 when the DEA raided several pot dispensaries," Seattle's KING 5 TV station reported. "The raids were not the federal government making a statement about pot use in Washington state, the source says."

One of the dispensaries involved in the new raids was the Bayside Collective in Olympia, the capital of Washington, "where seven government vehicles converged" the morning of July 24, NBC News reported.

DEA agents with guns drawn took business records and some $2,500 worth of marijuana that was intended not for recreational use but for distribution to cancer patients, according to witness Casey Lee, who works at the clinic.

"It's humiliating," Lee said of the raid and the agents. "They don't get to see the cancer patients."

Because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, Lee said one of the DEA agents told him, "Things are going to be hell for you."

"One of the DEA agents said: 'This is your second raid and your third robbery. Why do you keep doing this?'" Lee told KING 5.

"I just told him it's because we just enjoy helping people, and he told us that he wasn't expecting that answer," said Lee.

More cost than benefit

According to KING 5, local criminal defense attorney Douglas Hiatt said that he had been made aware of the raids.

"What we heard from a DEA agent that talked to one of my clients that was at the scene was that there was 18 targets or 18 places that they were going to hit," said Hiatt, before the agency announced that only four dispensaries had been raided.

"Marijuana is illegal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week under federal law. There is no defense, there is no justification," he continued.

Others, however, remembered what the president said.

"You can't tell me there isn't bigger fish to fry, especially now that recreational marijuana is legal," Seattle Cross dispensary patient Leif O'Leary told KING 5. "It is just to me inconceivable that this is still happening."

It should be noted that, right or wrong, a recent Pew Research Center poll found that 52 percent of Americans support legalization of marijuana, while nearly three-fourths (72 percent) believe efforts to enforce pot laws bring more cost than benefit.


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