DEA raids Washington pot dispensaries, at least 17 arrestedon November 15, 2011 @ 5:22 pm (Updated: 6:40 pm - 11/15/11 )
The Drug Enforcement Agency helped execute search warrants in connection with four ongoing federal investigations into illegal drug distribution in Pierce, King and Thurston counties.
"Each of the investigations targets commercial enterprises that purport to operate as "medical" marijuana establishments but also fail to comply with applicable state law," according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice. Search warrants unsealed by the U.S. District Court indicate the establishments are suspected of distributing large amounts of drugs and laundering large sums of money.
"Some of these medical marijuana stores were the subject of complaints from their surrounding communities as well as marijuana supporters, concerned about businesses operating outside the letter and spirit of state law," read the release.
U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said although all medical marijuana establishments are in violation of federal criminal law, they do not intend to prosecute "truly ill people or their doctors who determine that marijuana is an appropriate medical treatment."
"We will continue to target and investigate entities that are large scale commercial drug enterprises, or that threaten public safety in other ways," Durkan said Tuesday. " [...] state laws of compassion were never intended to protect brash criminal conduct that masquerades as medical treatment."
In a statement, the DEA said they remain committed to the enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in all states, but do not intend to target those with legitimate medical illnesses.
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