DEA agents search GAME Collective’s White Center ‘lounge’
3:05 PM: In at least three counties, federal Drug Enforcement Agency officers are searching medical-marijuana businesses – and one of them is in White Center, the GAME Collective ‘lounge’ in the former Hang Around bar space. Thanks to a tip, we got over there around 1:30 to find unmarked law-enforcement cars outside and officers inside. Among those on the scene, DEA spokesperson Agent Jodie Underwood, who told us that they expect to have “a statement” before day’s end, but otherwise, she wasn’t commenting. Regional media organizations are reporting raids in several other counties including Pierce and Thurston, but so far we haven’t found an indication of others in this area – we went by White Center’s other establishment and the three openly operating dispensaries in West Seattle, and there was no sign of current police activity. The lounge has been open for seven months.
ADDED 6:13 PM: Though there are no specifics about indictments, charges, arrests, or even business names, the local DEA has issued this statement to the media, attributing it to Special Agent in Charge Matthew Barnes:
It has never been our policy to target individuals with serious illnesses. However, there are those operating commercial storefronts cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana under the guise of state medical marijuana laws and exploiting such activities to satisfy their own personal greed. The DEA remains committed to the enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in all states.
The coordinated enforcement actions of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and our state and local law enforcement partners involve violations of both federal and state law.
The DEA will exercise its investigative authority to pursue criminal actions for any violation of federal law, when warranted. This includes investigating organizations or individuals that grow, manufacture or distribute any illegal drug to include marijuana, and those who rent or maintain a property to facilitate drug trafficking.
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