VIDEO: County’s cannabis crackdown – sheriff, prosecuting attorney tell medical-marijuana dispensaries they’re ‘illegal’

If you hit “play” on the :15 Instagram clip above, you’ll get an idea of how contentious this morning’s cannabis-crackdown announcement in downtown White Center was. While there was a full turnout of regional media, there also was a notable turnout of people from medical-marijuana establishments, furious about what’s happening.

Speaking outside the King County Sheriff’s Office downtown WC storefront were Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg, Sheriff John Urquhart, and Russ Hauge from (what’s about to be renamed) the state Liquor and Cannabis Board. Satterberg wrapped it up with a message to the marijuana establishments: “You might not consider yourself illegal – we do.” A copy was provided of the letter circulated to them (starting at least two days ago, according to what sources told us). While the officials gave conflicting answers as to what kind of “timeline” they expected for stores to shut down, the letter stated flatly in the sixth paragraph, “You will need to cease operations now, even if you plan on applying in the future for a state license …” and when asked, there was one suggestion that if stores aren’t closed within a month, they would “get a visit.” (added) Here’s part of Satterberg’s opening statement:

A printed list also provided to the news media included six White Center/Top Hat establishments:

Herbal Market, 10422 16th SW
White Center Alternative Care, 9839 17th SW
Pacific Coast Natural Medicine, 9817 16th SW
WCC, 9809 16th SW
Northwest Cannabis Market, 9640 16th SW
Herban Legends, 9619 16th SW
WPMC, 11009 1st Ave. S.

After the letter was circulated earlier this week, Herban Legends had this sign on its door:

The county officials referred to the newly opened Bud Nation, a state-licensed recreational-marijuana store in downtown White Center, as an example of what they support, and what they feel is threatened by the unlicensed establishments. They also made it clear that the state was there “in support” of what was their initiative. They pointed out they are doing this under civil measures, not criminal, but also reiterated that they are serious.

The medical-marijuana advocates, meantime, continued to protest that they are offering medicine and that they believe this is just a ploy by the state because of competition – what they make MMJ available for is lower than the state-set prices.

More to come…

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8 Responses to “VIDEO: County’s cannabis crackdown – sheriff, prosecuting attorney tell medical-marijuana dispensaries they’re ‘illegal’”

  1. The ignorance & greed of this man & his organization is astounding! Some of the businesses listed do have licenses & do pay taxes.

  2. PrinceAlbert Says:

    Considering several of these businesses have been in place for years, right in the middle of WC, the timing of this seems more than just coincidental.

  3. Boycott these corrupt businesses many of these collectives were not causing any problems. The corrupt legislature has new legal cana business lobby to collective money from. 502 is not legalization

  4. Judging by the actions of the White Center PD untaxed cannabis is bad, and heroin and methamphetamine is good.

  5. So the have a business licenses. They DO NOT have a state licenses to sell cannabis. Good job Bud Nation for getting a state license. Shut down the illegal stores.

  6. don’t some of these people work? Marijuana is a drug, it stays in the system for almost a month, what if Pilots and Surgeons smoked this? Take a look at the mentality of these damaged brain cells. There are also adults buying for minors..the long term effects are not good; but like any drug/alcohol abuse/use, the user is always in denial. If you research, you will find that most users who need their fix have already an underlying mental disorder. sad but true. So many other non destructive ways of living.

  7. Now I’m confused. Before Initiative 502, what did the laws allowing medical MJ say about how it was to be distributed?

  8. Question Mark Says:

    @BlairJ the former medical marijuana law allowed for collective gardens, each with a limited number of members, to operate and distribute medical marijuana to their members. Notably, it was never made legal for businesses to *sell* medical marijuana.

    The process that some (many?) medical marijuana dispensaries use was described by attorney Jay Berneburg in an article last year in the Renton Reporter:

    “Today, when a patient with a valid prescription for marijuana goes into Tranquility, Berneburg said that person fills out a form to become a member of their garden. After they become a member, they can use their membership to access the medicine and then ‘make a contribution to the garden,’ since sale and purchase of medical marijuana are still illegal.

    “Once they’ve received their medicine, they leave, creating what Berneburg called a ‘rotating membership.’

    “’When they leave, they resign their membership and that opens a seat,’ he said. ‘Another patient can become a member.’”