The DEA continues its attack on medical marijuana dispensaries, now extending them into Washington State. 17 people were arrested for non-crimes and five MMJ dispensaries were closed Tuesday morning after Thurston County Narcotics Task Force, Washington State Patrol and DEA agents conducted raids.
Note that most of the work is being done by county and state level police and not by federal agents. I’ve discussed this beforeand how protesters need to be aiming for those agencies specifically.
Thurston County Sheriff Lt. Greg Elwin says that police are not targeting medical patients with legitimate cards. Supposedly, the officers have conducted a five-month investigation, documenting numerous illegal marijuana purchases at the dispensaries. No doubt we’ll find out later that they issued undercover officers false MMJ cards and sent them in to buy – as they have done in California. This, they will claim, is not entrapment at all, despite it being akin to giving a state-issued (but false) driver’s license to a teenager and sending them into a store to buy booze.
In the Olympian, interviews with neighbors to the businesses say that the dispensaries were all “good neighbors” that did a lot of outreach and goodwill around their neighborhoods.
Deputy Elwin’s final statement says it all, however: “It is illegal to sell marijuana, regardless of whether there’s a green card or not. Law enforcement executives in Thurston County felt it was important to address this problem.”
This parrots statements given by the DEA on the raids. Special Agent In Charge Matthew Barnes says much the same in statements to the press. You can read that in Toke of the Town. Note the call to action is to protest the DEA HQ in Seattle.
Again, protesting the DEA will not work. Instead, focus on the local, accessible, and ultimately accountable agencies that are right there in your own back yard. Instead of going downtown to the DEA’s building, go to the Sheriff’s office and that elected public official himself. Light up the phones at the county buildings, the state capital, etc. Let your elected Sheriff know that he’s on the outs over this, let the cops at the county and state level know that you aren’t going to make their lives easier now that they’ve shown that they are not working for you, but for the feds.
Consumers and businesses should band together to protest by refusing service to sheriffs deputies and employees, to state police officers, etc. Make it uncomfortable for them to live in your neighborhoods, to work on your streets, etc. Show them that they can pull in all the forfeiture money they want from these raids (what they’re really after), but it will cost them dearly in terms of public goodwill and at the ballot box. Put pressure on state and county officials to begin inquiring why these agencies are ignoring state law in favor of federal law. Better yet, make it illegal for any agency in the state to accept money from any federal agency as a result of any law enforcement action.
Stop forfeiture and you end the raids on dispensaries.
Protesting the DEA does nothing. They’re a federal bureaucracy that is not beholden to you.