Feds Raid WA Medical Pot Dispensaries — Could More Regulation Save the Coming Legal Market?

On Wednesday, federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency raided several marijuana dispensaries in Washington’s Puget Sound region. Interpreting the crackdown as a threat to state-sanctioned legalization for adults older than twenty-one is tempting. Nonetheless, activists and experts on the ground tell AlterNet that while it’s too early to make a judgement, it appears likely that the dispensaries targeted may have been violating state — not just federal — law. Moreover, strict regulations embedded in WA’s more sweeping legalization model (and absent from its medical policy) may protect the state from federal intervention once the pot shops open up.

The Daily Chronic reported that as many as 18 dispensaries were raided, but AlterNet has confirmed with US Attorneys that only four — Seattle Cross, Tacoma Cross, Bayside Collective, and Key Peninsula Cross — were served warrants. The raid has also been described as the result of a reported two-year investigation, and the four dispensaries busted were also targeted by a 2011 raid. A spokesperson for the US Attorneys’ office for Western Washington told AlterNet these four distributors had not been officially prosecuted, but “on notice” ever since.

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