Recreational-Marijuana Merchants Rattled by Raids
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Recreational-Marijuana Merchants Rattled by Raids
Posted by CN Staff on July 25, 2013 at 19:48:31 PT
By Zusha Elinson and Joel Millman
Source: Wall Street Journal
Washington -- Federal raids of Washington state medical-marijuana dispensaries this week are raising concerns among state officials and entrepreneurs that recreational-marijuana may be similarly targeted when the market opens in the state early next year.Drug Enforcement Administration spokeswoman Jodie Underwood said agents executed several search warrants involving "marijuana storefronts" Wednesday, but she declined to comment on why they were targeted or whether recreational pot shops might get the same treatment.
A person familiar with the raids said agents went after four medical-marijuana dispensaries related to a 2011 investigation into allegations of money laundering and illicit marijuana sales. Residents in Colorado and Washington voted to legalize recreational marijuana last year. But federal authorities haven't said how they will address these new state-regulated markets for marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law. Washington and other states allow medical marijuana, but this is also illegal under federal law, and federal authorities have raided dispensaries around the country. Washington officials said this week after the raids that they were pushing forward with plans to permit recreational-marijuana production facilities and retail shops. But in light of the raids, coming months before the state rules on recreational marijuana take effect, state officials reiterated the need for guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice. "We would welcome clarity from the federal government on how they expect to address Washington state's emerging recreational system," said Brian Smith, a spokesman for the Washington State Liquor Control Board, which has been charged with regulating legal pot. "With a lack of clarity, you're always operating in an area of risk." Allison Price, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said the "department is continuing to review the legalization initiatives passed in Washington and Colorado." Bayside Collective in Olympia, Wash., was one of the dispensaries agents raided Wednesday, said Bayside office manager Addy Norton. Ms. Norton said she had just opened at 10:30 a.m. when DEA agents came with guns drawn. Ms. Norton said the DEA agents threw a search warrant on the floor when she asked to see it and they wouldn't say what they were looking for."They said we are part of a two-year ongoing investigation," Ms. Norton said, adding that agents took "all of our medicine" as well as documents from another medical-marijuana dispensary that Ms. Norton and her partner operated before it closed. Ms. Underwood declined to comment on details of the raids or names of the dispensaries.The raids put entrepreneurs set to enter the legal pot market on edge. "It's really tough, the federal government hasn't been clear about what their position is and all of us are just waiting, hoping and crossing our fingers," said Jamen Shively, a former Microsoft executive who is planning to open retail pot shops in Washington and Colorado with his company Diego Pellicer Inc."Right now it's impossible for me to tell whether this is part of a bona fide sting operation with cannabis crossing state lines or something like that, or is this more like sending a message?" Source: Wall Street Journal (US)Author:  Zusha Elinson and Joel MillmanPublished: July 25, 2013Copyright: 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.Contact: wsj.ltrs wsj.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #16 posted by mexweed on July 29, 2013 at 14:53:35 PT:
More Cannabis High Price Beneficiaries
Next to kaptinemo's category of MMJ provider/profiteers who benefit from the artificial HIGH PRICE (or expensive hoopjumping) of cannabis must go Big 2WackGo which benefits when children who "must" smoke something for sake of status (i.e. the right not to be picked on because you're a member of the gang etc.) are deterred by the high price of cannabis and steered toward 1/10-as-expensive but addictive $igarette tobacco. (And, trailing along down the road, Big pHARMa with its Lipitor and other Use-It-Or-Die drugs which you will in due course be prescribed after 2-3 decades of $igarette puffing.)
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Comment #15 posted by jetblackchemist on July 29, 2013 at 06:55:14 PT
States rights and the will of REAL people
The voters have spoken, and thankfully the politicians of those states are obeying the will of the voters as they are supposed to do. It bugs me to no end that they are always on their knees asking for guidance from the federal, when voters already gave them guidance.They need to get up off their knees, and instead sue the fed for interfering with ballot approved state laws. When the will of the voters goes completely the way of the dodo, the foundations the US was founded on turn to a house built on sand. Sadly, this happens a lot already from corporations special interests, since they have been erringly deemed as "people" those are the people to whom politicians turn an ear to because many politicians can legally insider trade... those two horrible policies, breed corruption and crumble democracy. Those two policies put special and corporate interests ahead of the will of the people, the real people have become worthless eaters(consumers) only good for being a cash cow of revenue generation. I am a customer and always will be, I trade my time, goods and services for others peoples time, goods and services as a custom. I do not eat time, goods and service, I trade them as is it is customary to do so. Although, in the way things are ran I can see why we are thought of as cattle and just a consumer of resources. Psychologically, we may have 4 stomachs to feed, but we are still human none the less... not an entity like these corporations hiding under the label as "people" ruining the world with economic, environmental and using political ideologies to make a buck.When the will of the voter, aka REAL people speak the government: Our representatives; has but one job, shut up and do, PERIOD regardless of a political representatives personal belief, or having an itchy palm wanting greased first. To ensure the survival of America's representative democracy, a "government of the people, by the people, for the people, must not perish... making our representative democracy, a government of the corporation, by the corporation, and for the corporation is effectively destroying this great nation and it's people. If you disagree, then you serve something other than humanity.
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Comment #14 posted by anomalies on July 28, 2013 at 20:18:22 PT:
Colorado counties 
   I live in Colorado and even though it is legal at state level, Most of the cities and counties aren't going to allow sales of any kind. The people that voted for it are not pushing for it anymore, just not following through. The counties and cities and local news stations are not letting the people know where and when these decisions are being made so those of you that use that stuff are able to be heard. 
   I don't touch the stuff anymore but I want to see it in stores. Drug dealers will be put out of business and makes for less hard drugs when dealers, the jerks that sells to kids, aren't pushing them when all you want is a joint. 
  Stay involved folks, don't let them ignore you.  
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Comment #13 posted by museman on July 28, 2013 at 19:20:33 PT
I am sure you are correct concerning california. I don't look south very often. And the MMJ corruption that is rampant there has made token inroads here, but though it may sound naive or somehow un-informed but I live in a different realm here in Middle Jefferson. I see the other world every day that I must merge with traffic.But here where 70% of the MMJ is grown in Oregon, I see a completely different picture than the one that pits one cannabis activist against another. There are a few who would vote against legalization (and everyone knows by now that I consider the 'vote' to be a useless token gesture of a powerless people in great denial) to keep it illegal for profit reasons. But what most don't seem to realize is that that 'profit' -the one that all the greedy entrepreneurs and taxmen keep quoting like it is 'great riches' or something has steadily been decreasing drastically every year. The 'get rich scheme' that keeps getting prime time conversation is no such thing, although the recent tactics of the feds probably raised the going price a bit. - and they are the ones with the big money orchestrating their every move.In the city where only indoor grows can happen its a bit more dog-eat-dog, but out here in the country where a 'garden' is most likely growing herb, the most profit I see being made is from nurseries and other 'grow accessorie' shops. There are a few new cars being driving around by young folks who like to flaunt their extra money like the very wealthy or wanna-be wealthy in every town and city in america, and personally I think anybody who can afford a new car and is not driving a hybrid or better, is either buried to their neck in credit and denial or wealthy with attitude.My problem is not in calling the spade a spade but saying that just because my cannabis spade -and my State's cannabis spade are 'cannabis spades' is not the same as the spade that article is trying to lump all together. -IE MMJ growers in Oregon don't fit the profile well enough for me to let such incomplete and un-informed statements as in that article stand without contest.coining phrases like 'Big Marijuana' is deliberately misleading, negatively type casting and profiling of a whole lot more people than the few who are corrupt, unlike every aspect of the government, and their corporate paymasters which are completely corrupt.And if FREEDOM were LEGALIZED who would not be free?
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Comment #12 posted by kaptinemo on July 28, 2013 at 16:28:57 PT:
If the cannabis community does as Churchill said 
most people do when encountering truth, we'll forever be behind the Fed's 8-ball. We have to look the ugly in the face even more than the beautiful, or we're never going to win. And what happened in CA was damned ugly, as part of it was done by our putative 'own'.Mind you, I'm talking about what happened in California, not Maine. Maine hasn't, to my knowledge, had any State-wide re-legalization plebiscites up for vote by the electorate. CA did...and it was defeated in no small part thanks to the activism of those whose artificially profitable economic niche would not exist in a re-legalization schema, due to the inevitable drop in price of the commodity in question. I don't begrudge anyone their livelihood, so long as that livelihood doesn't negatively affect their neighbor's ability to enjoy equal opportunities to enrich themselves, again, with the same caveat. But most of those who moved to Northern California back in the late 1960's and early 1970's did so because it was (and remains) remote and economically marginalized, and thus back then was not as much of a target for the grasping tentacles of The State and its' badge-adorned and weapon-toting 'muscle'- as it obviously is today. It is mostly their descendants - who remained in the area for the same reasons - who are now involved in the trade. As predictable as an Eastern sunrise, their economic success, courtesy of a hot-house style 'bubble' created by the underground and later MMJ markets - whose inflated prices are derived from prohibition - caused those grasping tentacles to head their way. And the only way that bubble can continue to exist is to maintain prohibition. In short, cannabis prohibition provides the Green Triangle (and anyone growing for profit sub rosa in CA) a perpetually untenable 'bubble' economy, one that would be popped the moment re-legalized weed entered the market, and people refused to pay the currently inflated prices that cannabis prohibition supports. Adam Smith's 'invisible hand' invariably shows that, when unfettered by government action and corp-rat (or other forms of) monopolization (like cartels), the market does, indeed, rule. Working against that process, as re-legalization represents, played into the hands of both the foreign cartels and the Feds. Both had reason to high-five their respective colleagues at the news of Prop19's defeat. The cartels could stay in business...and the Feds could continue to receive paychecks and plan for their cushy retirements, while they lovingly caressed their military-supplied toys and polished and filed their hobnailed jackboots, destined for the necks of those who thought defeating Prop19 was grounds for sparking up a phattie.As the old saying goes, "Be careful what you wish for; you might get it." The tacitly unspoken part that follows usually goes ...just not the way you think". Many CA MMJ patients and their suppliers are learning this the hard way. The only way out of this mess should be obvious. Otherwise, CA is left with a system where 'some animals are more equal than others' courtesy of many not being able to afford prohibition-inflated-priced cannabis and running the gauntlet of barriers placed in the way of those who can. While all must continue to fear that jackboot.I agree: LEGALIZE FREEDOM. For everybody.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on July 28, 2013 at 14:50:58 PT
I agree with you. 
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Comment #10 posted by museman on July 28, 2013 at 14:04:11 PT
oh yes
"Full on legalization" is definitely the solution. When it actually happens I will be overjoyed. But since it actually hasn't happened yet... Colorado and Washington's 'legislatures' are back pedaling as hard as they can get away withWhen it actually happens there would naturally be room in it for everybody, just no-get-rich-quick schemes for the carpetbagger mentality. It would become a commodity just like everything else.Most of my life cannabis was a Sacrament for me, and I refused to treat it as a commodity. As a Sacrament it's value was beyond dollar-and-cent. I grew my own for over 20 years, climbing mountains and hills, crawling through thickets, and hauling my organic materials and water (when I couldn't find them close by) and ridiculously small amounts compared to a 'commercial grow.' Once I hauled water up a mountain side on crutches!Only once did I manage to grow enough for one years personal stash. I sure as hell didn't sell it!And I got busted more times for it than I wish to make public. Then my health failed. I became a ward of the state via the VA. In the midst of my vicodin coated pain, I noticed an unexpected side effect of my long use of cannabis as a Sacrament; it helped mitigate the pain so well, I began to wean myself from the opiates. Cannabis has since then been documented to have as many health benefits, I can no longer look at it as just a Sacrament. It is also a commodity, and has value as such. Add to that the many other uses from fiber and pulp and its a no-brainer.The current state of the so-called 'Cannabis Industry'is chaotic and relatively undefined, except for the pointing fingers that find as many flaws they can to continue to vilify both cannabis and cannabis users.Division and angst is brought about by the instigation of DEA and their ruling masters for the purpose of not allowing the actual Cannabis Culture to become "Big Marijuana."Real Legalization would make all of this moot.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on July 28, 2013 at 13:13:33 PT
We knew it was coming. It is a shame how money can cloud the minds of those who once worked just to get the laws changed.
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Comment #8 posted by museman on July 28, 2013 at 11:52:46 PT
medical vs 'legal'
While I agree in essence with what FoM and Kapt say about the issue I can't help but feel that some thing is being left out of the understanding. I read the article and though it generalizes the entire medical cannabis 'industry' -(a bit of an exaggeration) as "Big Marijuana," the only actual state out of 19 that have now legalized the medical use that they offer as 'evidence' is Maine.Anyone familiar with the Maine Medical law knows that they didn't even have dispensaries for several years and patients couldn't actually get any medicine except from the black market. And when they did get them the "Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services" set the process up so that only a certain kind of individual would be able to get licensed to grow and sell; one with money.So the setup is already there. "Big Marijuana Lobby" as far as I can tell only exists in Maine. So this is some very faulty and slanted journalism -like so much that concerns cannabis.I know a lot of growers here in the 'Humboldt of Oregon' and yes unfortunately there is a lot of fudging, and stretching of the 'law.' There are even a very few who do not even use the medicine, but only have card to make money.When it comes to the law the 'law' can kiss all of our asses. The Law is wrong, always has been, and trying to judge the recent jump in income for people whose 'opportunity' to make a living in other areas is starkly lacking - is bogus. None of those I know started with big bucks, and even the greedier ones make the Maine Medical Marijuana Lobby look like a corporate lobby not a peoples lobby -and it is only a handful with money and people that the state sanctioned based on its own governmental policies of giving opportunity to family members and investment constituents.This is prohibition couched as something else.Also, as one who has seen the real greed in this country manifest in global conquest, slavery pollution, destruction of lives, and a government of ass-kissers-of-wealth, the 'greed' of most medical grow scenes hardly even qualifies as the word connotates.Re-distribution of wealth is the real issue here. The powerful and wealthy do not want it unless they can control it and have their ill gotten wealth as the only 'legal investment' acceptable.Personally I believe that every dollar taken away from the system is a blow for liberty, and every attack on cannabis users growers, and dispensaries -regardless of the justification- is an attack on true liberty.The message in the article is obtuse and deliberately vague. It is a prohibition attitude. IMOBTW notice the little video clip; "Obama says 'no' to legalizing weed" ?LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #7 posted by kaptinemo on July 28, 2013 at 06:46:48 PT:
FoM, the showdown *has* to happen
I knew it would come to this when the dispensaries and growers made common cause with virulently, rabidly anti-cannabis forces in CA during the 2010 Election. Greed isn't the sole province of prohibs; the prices charged in dispensaries are dependent upon prohibition remaining in place, otherwise we wouldn't even be needing this venue to air our grievances.Long-time denizens of this site know that I backed MMJ to get the truly sick and needy off the battlefield so that the inevitable last campaign to free the weed could be fought without them becoming further casualties. But then dispensaries and growers told patients to vote against - and politic their representatives to vote against - Prop19.Just as prohibs use children as 'human shields' to protect their fiscal budgets, the same was done with patients, for the same kinds of reasons...and thus CA had to take back seat to WA and CO, which have enjoyed vastly less Fed interference in their affairs because of their re-legalizing. By doing so, the dispensaries and growers in CA signaled to the Feds that there was no united front on cannabis, so the Feds knew could safely ignore the inevitable (and contemptuously pathetic) shocked, naive protests of the dispensaries and growers when the Fed jackboot began grinding its' heel on their throats with a vengeance, courtesy of Haag's Rapine. Which, I repeat, happened within months after Prop19 was sabotaged by what amounts to a Fifth Column.There must be freedom for all, or none are free. Freedom isn't a Chinese menu, with picking and choosing; in this case, with picking and choosing who will be free to consume cannabis without sanctions against them, and who will not.MMJ's day is done. It served its' purpose. It proved that cannabis has medicinal properties...and that the concept sits well with the American psyche. Most Americans support it..just as most Americans now support re-legalization. Comparatively, MMJ is horse & buggy; it's time for the Model T. It's time to take this to the next level. It's time for full-on re-legalization for adults. And to Perdition with anybody that stands in the way of that.Anybody.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on July 27, 2013 at 06:19:25 PT
Big Marijuana Lobby Fights Legalization Efforts
July 27, 2013Pot legalization activists are running into an unexpected and ironic opponent in their efforts to make cannabis legal: Big Marijuana.Medical marijuana is a billion-dollar industry — legal in 18 states, including California, Nevada, Oregon and Maine — and like any entrenched business, it’s fighting to keep what it has and shut competitors out. Dispensary owners, trade associations and groups representing the industry are deeply concerned — and in some cases actively fighting — ballot initiatives and legislation that could wreck their business model.	
That pits them against full legalization advocates, who have been hoping to play off wins at the ballot box last fall in Colorado and Washington state that installed among the most permissive pot laws in the world. Activists are hoping to pass full legalization measures in six more states by 2016.Read more:
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Comment #5 posted by Swazi-X on July 26, 2013 at 20:18:56 PT
Just The Way They Like It
This is the best our masters in government can hope for at this point - keep the rules vague, the reasoning cloudy and secretive, and then pick off a few dispensaries who are a bit too activist and/or have made a bit too much money - that they could use to buy lobbyists in D.C. to actually change something. Can't have that. Terrorism 101 - keep your victims guessing as to where, when, and how hard you're going to hit - it's the same tactic used against our own soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is institutionalized government terrorism, and it violates the civil rights of a growing percentage of people in this country who support and use cannabis.At the same time, it's business as usual for the Prohibitionist Profiteer's Club - keep that paycheck fat, lie your face off whenever anyone asks why you're doing it, and try to ignore the lives you destroy along the way. Oh - and make sure you're in a job where they don't do random drug tests - like police, prosecutors, D.A., Judge, etc. You sure wouldn't want that sweet kush from the weekend showing up...Another dirty, dishonest trick is for the likes of the head of the D.E.A., HHS, NIDA, etc. to ignore the science and their own actions (HHS patent, fed-grown joints sent out monthly, etc.) in the reasoning for keeping this plant illegal, and for keeping the avenues for change in this area completely blocked at every turn. It's a police-state terrorist monopoly that runs counter to the very reason we started this country to begin with - to escape tyranny. In essence, the D.E.A. and every other government agency involved in this shameful waste of time, money and lives are traitors to the democracy we all believe we live in.
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Comment #4 posted by MikeEEEEE on July 26, 2013 at 19:17:25 PT
I'm betting the raids will not be targeting the little fi$h.
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Comment #3 posted by ekim on July 26, 2013 at 13:22:13 PT
this weekend
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on July 26, 2013 at 08:00:36 PT
2 year investigation
Must have taken some brilliant sleuthing and cutting-edge technology to track down this operation, eh? course investigating for 2 years means two more years that you don't get laid off or sent to investigate real criminals
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on July 25, 2013 at 21:18:29 PT
One hand giveth, the other one taketh away...
This is all a "make work" program over a plant that never killed anyone, let alone a human being.Go figure...If you are unemployed, you should consider getting a job at the DEA, past drug use, recommended! Fringe benefits are amazing! No other job can offer this!
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