Legal Showdown Over Medical Marijuana Law in Washington State

A legal showdown over Washington’s medical marijuana law is taking shape in Spokane.

At issue is a provision in the voter-approved law that allows caretakers to supply up to 1.5 pounds of marijuana at a time to those with state-issued medical marijuana cards.

Some medical marijuana advocates believe that allows them to lawfully supply one patient at a time. Spokane County prosecutors say the provision limits each caretaker to just one patient – period.

The case of a medical marijuana advocate charged with seven drug-related felonies illustrates a debate about a law prosecutors and pot advocates say is confusing.

Police raided Darren J. McCrea’s home last year after a months-long investigation triggered by a tip that McCrea, the founder of the medical marijuana support group SpoCannabis, was “selling marijuana to anyone with a medical permit,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

On Monday, nearly a year and a half after detectives found 5 pounds of marijuana and $32,000 in a safe in his north Spokane home, McCrea, 41, pleaded not guilty in Spokane County Superior Court to seven charges: five counts of delivery of a controlled substance and single counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and manufacture of a controlled substance.

The five people McCrea is accused of selling marijuana to have Washington medical marijuana cards, as does he. At issue is how the law defines caretakers permitted to provide marijuana to patients.

“It’s created a great deal of confusion and more questions than answers,” said Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor John Grasso.

Grasso said the law allows caretakers to provide marijuana to one person only. McCrea’s lawyer, David Miller, noted in court that the statute states a caretaker can provide to one person “at a time.”

Owners of medical marijuana dispensaries use that interpretation to justify their businesses; Grasso has said he thinks businesses such as Change, on Northwest Boulevard, are illegal. The state Department of Health Web site says the dispensaries are illegal, too, saying the law allows a supplier to supply just one person.

Change co-owner Scott Shupe is facing felony drug charges in Oregon after police found 4 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle during a traffic stop two weeks ago. Shupe considers himself a caretaker for the more than 1,000 people who have bought marijuana at Change, which should allow him to have a pound and a half of marijuana per customer, he says.

Even so, Oregon doesn’t recognize Washington medical marijuana licenses.

McCrea bristles when compared to for-profit businesses such as Change. SpoCannabis is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping medical marijuana patients safely obtain their medicine, he said.

But prosecutors don’t go after all medical marijuana patients, Grasso said. He’s seen many cases involving one person growing or supplying marijuana to one medical patient.

“We’re not filing against those people,” Grasso said. “Our interpretation is if you are selling marijuana to more than one patient you are not in compliance.”

Friends and SpoCannabis volunteers attended McCrea’s arraignment Monday to show support for a man they described as a hero.

“Darren provides support and education for people like me,” said Steven Delgado, a cancer patient. “I almost feel like I’m on trial.”

– Article from The News Tribune.



  1. Anonymous on

    You really need to cut the slang out of your message. When you use the F word to express your feelings, it degrades your point.

  2. skoolzone on

    Remember everyone the golden rule. Those with all the gold make the rules. Believe me when i say this “the government would love to tax medical marijuana.” The problem is the pharmaceutical companies know that medical marijuana is just as (and in some cases more) effective than the crap they engineer. They want it illegal because no one can patent a natural plant. So this means that if they cannot control, and profit from it , then no one can have it.

    reality sucks, skoolzone

    I live in the best country on the planet, yet we have the most corrupt, dirty, government in the world.

  3. Life of brian was the best monty python film! on

    Nice John Cleese impresion bro, I love monty python’s life of brian too.

  4. Anonymous on

    We all need to open our minds to all ideas and improve on them from there. Only then can we achieve ultimate peace. This has been an enlightening conversation, thank you very much Dreamer.

  5. Dreamer on

    Locking yourself into only one point of view and being unwilling to accept that it might be the wrong point of view is the ultimate form of ignorance. Nuff said.

  6. Anonymous on

    like I said buddy I aint going to take away your ignorance. You find comfort in that and I respect that. I myself just prefer intelligence to ignorance thats all.

  7. Dreamer on

    You very well may be 100% right about us and aliens. There is certainly alot more hard evidence to point towards an “alien” life form of some type spuring mankind along. Then man just “evolving” into what we are today. But if something had to help create us and spur along our evolment, then wouldn’t it be safe to say something probably had to spur along that alien race to get them to where they are also? Eventually you are going to run out of alien races and are going to be left with only one awnser. Some type of all powerful being created it all. Mathimatics can prove the possiblety for exsitance for atleast 11 deminsion’s. 8 more then our feeble lil 3 deminsionsonal minds could ever understand , why couldn’t anyone of them be what some deem to be heaven, why couldn’t one of them be what some people beleave to be hell? I agree, beleaving that we all may be held accountable and have to awnser for our actions to some more powerful being one day is pretty unsettleing. But it’s a hell of alot more confortable idea for me to beleave in, then to think nothing in life matters and it’s just all a matter of pure luck that man even came to be.Now i aint no bible thumper, i don’t beeave anyone religion got it 100% right. But i think if you cut out all the symbolic bullshit and get passed everything that was added over time for the sole purpose of controlling the masses. I beleave the message is the same in all of them. But it’s easy for me to have this beleaf, i see a pure evil in this world, and i also see pure good. But i only see it in one animal on this planet. Man. Well why is that ? why out of all the creatures of this planet, why is that man is the only one that you can see pure evil in? Did aliens add that to us to make us better workers ? I doubt it. Probably has more to do with a super natural evil in this world and the counter is the supernatural good that you can see in every decent person on this planet. Or maybe i’m just full of shit and smoked a lil too much today. hey what ever helps ya sleep better at night.

  8. THE TRUTH on

    The only life form on earth that did not evolve is humankind. They were created in a lab by aliens to sterilize this once wild planet. Face it buddy were all a slave species. Planitary parisites. Now you know the truth but I aint gonna stop you from living in denial, its far more confortable that way anyhow Dreamer.

  9. Dreamer on

    No god huh, so evolution just happened to make a plant that could very well save mankind all on its own? Outside of the fact that there is far too many complex life forms on this planet to be accounted for just by evolution alone, marijuana by it’s self should change your views of weather or not there may be a god. Just seems like one hell of a long shot that evolution just happened to make the exact thing that could solve alot of the worlds problems with a combination of nature and mans ingenuity. Going to go out on a limb here and say you probably don’t beleave in aliens also.

  10. Anonymous on


  11. Lygeia on

    So, the prosecutor believes that a medical marijuana provider can only sell marijuana to one person. Not one person at a time (however “time” is defined), but only to one person. If you sell you two people, you go to jail.

    I think I found a way out of this. Everyone should just grow their own for their own personal use.

    In addition, rather than taxing marijuana (at the ridiculous rate of fifty dollars an ounce) to support the dominant, dying culture, people should find a way to “get off the grid.”

    Some bloggers have suggested a “gift” economy. I think the “gift” economy could work for medical marijuana providers. I’ve also heard about people in Northern California asking “Hey, can I pay you in bud?” Maybe there will be a way to develop a money system based on marijuana, rather than gold or oil. Don’t laugh, this may have been the way the cathedrals were built in the Middle Ages, using a agricultural-based money system.

    Agricultural products don’t last as long as gold and you have to spend the money that is based on them quickly because the agricultural product the money is based doesn’t last. This creates a liquid money supply rather than a static one, creating further innovation because people have an incentive to spend rather than save.

    It’s worth considering another possibility, rather than trying to “save” people who buys into the dominant value system that is killing us all.

  12. Anonymous on

    How preposterous is this!! Typical bureaucratic BS, the hamster wheel keeps turning. Here is a man who believes in a cause and is trying to help patients with their drug of choice which is every patient’s God-given right, to choose what they want for therapeutic relief of symptoms. Its “high time” we got on with the process of legalization of marijuana and end the Prohibition now!

  13. BIG SMOKE on

    If there was or is a god he is evil for letting this happen in the first place. No, I wouldn’t count on some sky god to solve your problems. Face it! They want you to believe in “god” so you wont solve your own problems and expect someone else to solve them for you and think everything is going to be ok. Look, were not in the dark ages for fuck sakes, it is up to the people as a mass to fight injustice such as this and stop relying on some invisible force to solve our problems with these controlling, opressing governments.

  14. Anonymous on

    This is proof positive that “government” knows how powerful Cannabis is at treating illness. Do you really think they would give up the brass ring they have there hooks into? They are willing to MURDER PEOPLE to get the point across that they could not care less about a single human beings life. So long as they line there pockets with money, and there friends pockets with money, AND THERE IS ALLOT OF PEOPLE ON THAT PAYROLL.
    I hope to be there when God rips these evil, sick, twisted sacks of s*!t a new a**hole.


  15. Anonymous on

    The wording of this part of the medical cannabis legislation in WA state leads to these grey areas. If nothing else comes from this, the law should be altered. If you think about it, how in the world is a patient that is concerned about what they are medicating with, going to get quality meds. Strain choice and variety are what patients need to effectively treat what ails them. The patients need a lawful way to access meds. At least make dispensaries legal, isn’t this law about compassion and healing for patients. But we still have to get medicine under the table (black market). If the state wants to make right by this they should leave these poor people alone that are trying to help people by providing meds. It is ridiculous that the states would want to pay for this kind of trial in both situations. I just hope the judges recognize what these courageous people are trying to do, help patients that need it. That is the bottom line.

  16. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! on

    Why the FUCK does the government continue to make innocint people suffer. Who the hell was he hurting by helping out fellow people in need?!! That man needs ganja just to be able to stomace a meal and those pukes raid his home!! FUCK THE GOVERNMENT IS EVIL!