Three medical marijuana shops in the Wenatchee area have closed after federal prosecutors threatened to seize the properties and to fine or prosecute the landlords.
Medical marijuana store operator Eric Cooper says the letters last week from Eastern Washington U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby prompted three existing dispensaries to close immediately.
He says the fourth shop in the area is staying open a little longer but also intends to close.
“We all probably got spooked a little easier than we should have,” said Cooper, who has operated a medical marijuana dispensary called Apple Capital Holistic Care, 118 N. Chelan Ave., since May. But the operators did not want to face criminal records, Cooper said.
Joe Harrington, First Assistant U.S. Attorney in Spokane, said the letters were sent to four dispensaries in Wenatchee. He declined to say why dispensaries in Wenatchee were chosen, or whether growing operations in other cities would be targeted in the future.
Despite state laws allowing limited distribution of medical marijuana, the dispensaries violate federal law.
“The trafficking in controlled substances is in violation of federal law, as is knowingly maintaining a premises where drugs are being distributed,” Harrington said.
He said the letter was not technically a “cease and desist” order. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office suggested that within the next 30 days, the landlords take appropriate steps” to make sure their properties were not being used for illegal purposes, he said.
– Read the entire article at Wenatchee World.