The Drug Enforcement Administration mailed letters Thursday to 23 medical marijuana businesses in Western Washington, warning they could be prosecuted and the properties seized if they are operating within a school zone.
“Please take the necessary steps to discontinue the sale and/or distribution of marijuana…within 30 days,” read the letter, signed by Matthew G. Barnes, special agent in charge of the Seattle office.
Neither the DEA nor the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which supported the action, would release the names of the 23 dispensaries or disclose which cities they’re located in.
Barnes said in a statement that “additional notifications” will be sent “as necessary.”
“I am confident that once notified of the ramifications and penalties associated with renting a property for marijuana distribution purposes, property owners will take appropriate steps to rectify the situation on their own. The DEA will not turn a blind eye to criminal organizations that attempt to use state or local law as a shield for their illicit drug trafficking activities,” Barnes said in a statement.
The letters, which threaten property forfeiture and criminal prosecution, follow similar federal action against medical marijuana operations in Eastern Washington, Northern California and Colorado targeting storefronts near schools. In other states, the federal actions at times have clashed with state or local laws allowing dispensaries, flaming renewed debate in the 16 states and the District of Columbia which allow medical marijuana.
– Read the entire article at The Seattle Times.