This week’s DEA raids in Seattle have in part addressed the question of if or when federal drug enforcement agents with the Drug Enforcement Agency would supersede state laws allowing for legal recreational use of marijuana.
Washington State passed unusually liberal pot laws last November, but the DEA raids in Seattle have evidenced that the federal government doesn’t plan to sit idly by while states sit in defiance of federal law criminalizing the plant.
Seattle attorney Douglas Hiatt told local news sources that a client of his was tipped to the DEA raids in Seattle before Wednesday, when 18 medical marijuana dispensaries were searched for evidence of criminality.
“A client of mine who was talking to a D.E.A agent was told that there were going to be 18 places raided (Wednesday) up and down the corridor.”
Hiatt admitted he was unsure as to why the federal agency picked July to begin poking around marijuana dispensaries, but he predicts that the DEA raids in Seattle are just the beginning of federal and state clashes over marijuana decriminalization:
“I think there’s kind of been a lull in enforcement while they’re trying to make up their minds about where they’re going, policy-wise and I think from (Wednesday), it looks like that lull is ending.”
While state and federal agencies hash out conflicting pot laws, medical marijuana users are left in the lurch when dispensaries are disrupted due to actions like the DEA raids in Seattle.
Medical marijuana patient Leif O’Leary told KING 5 News:
“You can’t tell me there isn’t bigger fish to fry, especially now that recreational marijuana is legal. It is just to me inconceivable that this is still happening.”
Hiatt admits that little legal recourse is available to dispensary operators and patients, adding:
“Marijuana is illegal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week under federal law. There is no defense, there is no justification.”
The DEA raids in Seattle may have affected as few as four dispensaries, later reports indicate.