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  Comments (19) Total Monday Apr. 21, 2014
 
At Least 3 Medical Marijuana Operations Raided
Medical Marijuana Raids
HELENA – Federal and state law enforcement officials raided at least three western Montana medical marijuana operations Wednesday in what appears to be a new round in the crackdown on medical pot providers in the state.

Kate Cholewa of the Montana Cannabis Industry Association said Big Sky Health and Kind Caregivers in Missoula, and Glacier Health in Kalispell were among those searched.

The new wave of raids is an apparent continuation of a crackdown that began in March, when federal agents searched dozens of registered medical marijuana caregivers in coordinated raids carried out across the state.

Several medical marijuana operators have pleaded guilty to federal drug charges since the March raids, but others say they were complying with the state's medical marijuana law and are fighting the charges.

"We wish some state officials would stand up and make a statement for Montana," Cholewa said. "If people are breaking state law, that's one thing. But who's going to defend the state law?"

The U.S. Attorney's Office for Montana said in a statement Wednesday that it had executed 12 criminal search warrants in Kalispell, Missoula, Somers and Whitefish, plus four seizure warrants at financial institutions.

The statement did not specify the locations of the properties searched, did not describe what was taken and did not say whether anybody was arrested.

Federal prosecutors said the warrants are part of a yearlong drug trafficking investigation, and that the properties searched were allegedly involved in marijuana production and distribution.

The statement makes no mention of whether medical marijuana operations were targeted, though it alludes to medical marijuana patients by, saying, "Individuals with illnesses who are in clear and unambiguous compliance with state law are not the focus of this investigation."

The first round of raids in March came as state lawmakers were considering restricting who can be a medical marijuana patient and how the drug is distributed. The law that ultimately passed bans the commercial sale of medical marijuana, but a judge has blocked that provision while a legal challenge makes its way through the courts.

The March raids cast a pall over what had been a booming industry in Montana and caused many providers to shutter their operations. The Montana Cannabis Industry Association and others have sued the federal government, claiming the raids violated their civil rights.
 
On 11-23-11, nam vet commented....
Bill - are you trying to make a point or being your normal sanctimonious self?
 
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