Federal agents raided several medical marijuana dispensaries in the Seattle area Wednesday evening. Drug Enforcement Administration spokeswoman Jodie Underwood confirmed the raids but would not give specific details of the operation.
“Several search warrants were executed today involving marijuana storefronts in King, Thurston, and Pierce counties,” Underwood said.
According to a local medical marijuana attorney, targeted dispensaries included Seattle Cross, Tacoma Cross, and Bayside Collective in Olympia.
An employee of Bayside Collective told reporters that DEA agents seized marijuana and the personal cell phones of employees but did not take computers and cash. About a dozen plants and a quarter pound of dry pot were taken from Bayside. According to that employee, agents said the raid was the result of a two-year investigation – but they offered no further details. No arrests were made at Bayside but employees were “federally subpoenaed.”
The raids are particularly vexing as Washington State voters legalized recreational marijuana last November. Although these search warrants involved medical dispensaries, pot advocates have been waiting for any indication as to whether the federal government would interfere with states that have legalized recreational pot. While the DEA’s actions are a bad indication, it is still too early to interpret policy based on these raids.