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Marijuana Dispensaries Raided

Oregon is viewed by outsiders as pro-marijuana. After all, we nearly made cannabis legal in the last election. But our law enforcement authorities do keep an eye on things and last week, four medical marijuana dispensaries were raided. Four people were arrested on charges they violated our state’s medical marijuana statute.

According to the Ashland Daily Tidings, the charges levied had to do with illegal marijuana sales at the locations. “This was the product of a two-year investigation in which we developed information that illegal marijuana sales were occurring at these store fronts," said Medford Police Chief Tim George. Three locations in Medford were raided along with one in Gold Hill.

Dispensaries are allowed to transfer marijuana between growers and registered patients, who have to have a valid medical marijuana card. They are not allowed to sell weed for profit. If they are caught doing so, owners can be charged with conspiracy to deliver marijuana. This was the charge mentioned in reports, along with the enhancement that some sales occurred within a thousand feet of a school.

The difference between a criminal sale and a legal transfer will be for the court to decide, but police say they made undercover buys to support the arrests.

After the arrests, the defendants were given bail amounts of more than a half-million dollars each. This caused a round of protest, both from the arrestees and their supporters. It took two trips into court, before two different judges, before bail amounts were lowered.

In other states, most notably Michigan and California, when dispensaries have drifted outside the borders of the medical marijuana laws, they have been closed – sometimes wholesale. What can happen is that other operations see what they believe to be undue police attention and simply close shop. Unless they know they are operating in strict compliance with the law, it’s not worth the risk.

Advocates say that the climate of fear induced will lead patients to look elsewhere for their meds, probably turning to street sales.

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