The last known medical marijuana exchange in the state was raided on Sunday by officers apparently looking for evidence of illegal drug activity.
People who were at the Patient Cannabis Exchange said officers from the Pierce County Sheriff, Tacoma Police and the Liquor and Cannabis Board spent eight hours at the market.
The exchange has operated in a grey area of the law that allows medical marijuana users, with a doctor’s prescription, to hand over their right to grow marijuana to a designated person.
“They took everybody away that had warrants, took everybody’s meds, even the patients’ and refused to give it back to them, even if they paid for it,” said Jay McNeal who was detained briefly by police.
McNeal said he was a security guard operating the door, and the only people allowed inside are patients who had to show their prescription, and who are Washington state residents.
Pictures circulating on social showed people sitting on the ground while officers move through the exchange, which operates behind several businesses on Pacific Avenue South.
Makaveli de la Cruz, the owner of the Patient Cannabis Exchange, said nothing illegal was going on.
“I’m completely confused because we are a private patient-only facility that’s been operating over five years, and never received a cease and desist order,” he said.
According to witnesses, officers asked for identification of everyone and arrested people who had outstanding warrants. Everyone else was allowed to stay, but all marijuana and money was taken.
“No one’s driving a Ferrari, no one is rich, these are just all small collectives trying to help each other out,” said Miguel Miggy, a blogger who writes under then name of Miggy420.
He believes the raid was more about the LCB trying to reign-in on medical exchanges who don’t pay taxes when exchanging medicine with other medical users.
“I partially think it was the Liquor Control Board flexing their muscle and taking inventory about what’s going on in there just to see what the competition is,” said Miggy.
Attempts to reach spokespeople for the LCB have been unsuccessful.