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Medical Marijuana Community Tries to Recover After Raids

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Earlier this week, 26 search warrants were executed in 13 Montana cities and towns as part of an 18-month investigation into large-scale medical marijuana trafficking and tax evasion. The medical marijuana community is trying to recover but as NewsChannel 5's Kacey Drescher reports, fear is getting in the way.

Early Monday morning, there were about 1,600 medical marijuana plants in Montana Cannabis's greenhouse and co-owner Chris Williams tells News Channel 5, it’s not just his greenhouse that’s been destroyed but the lives of his family, his patients, and employees have been destroyed as well.

“There’s no way our company we will recover fully from this,” says Williams.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, along with paraphernalia and plants, warrants were issued to seize bank accounts in the amount of $4 million dollars in three cities.

Williams was unable to be interviewed on camera Thursday because he’s driving around the state, delivering medicine to his high-risk patients. “There’s a lot of fear around, my staff, our patients right now. I have a lot of patients that don’t even want me to deliver to them and don’t want to speak to me on the phone because their personal medical records have been confiscated by the federal government. Some of my staff is so afraid I haven’t seen them since the raid I haven’t been able to make contact with them,” he says.

And employee Jeff Swenson, Montana Cannabis's IT Manager, is also scared. “Scared at not having a job,” he says.

Swenson just filed for unemployment and has a family to support. “My last week’s paycheck, it was left here at the greenhouse and all bank accounts were frozen so that’s $200 and some dollars just sitting there,” Swenson adds.

He says his muscle-spasticity is going crazy from having to cut back on his medicine and he and other Montana Cannabis patients are suffering. “I can’t imagine what they’re going through, I don’t want to, it hurts,” says Swenson holding back tears.

Williams says a lot of his patients and other affected by the raids will probably change caregivers now which they can do by filling out a Caregiver Change Request Form with the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

“That information will be, as soon as we get it, that information will be immediately put into the system and it should be taken care of for the new patient in just a matter of days,” says Chuck Council, Communications Specialist with the Department of Public Health and Human Services. While Williams says patients will suffer from having to wait until their paperwork is filed and the state will see a back-log in paperwork, Council assures those needing to change caregivers that it should only take three to four days.

But the Montana Cannabis Co-Owner says patients might be too scared to have their personal information entered into a state data-base and they’ll turn to the black market. “They’ve trusted the state law and now the Federal Government is coming in and stopping that. If the DEA’s task in doing this was to stop drug-trafficking and to stop drug-traffickers, they have done the opposite,” says Williams.

In a statement released Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter says individuals with illnesses who are in compliance with state law are not the focus of the investigation.

News Hawk- Jacob Husky 420 MAGAZINE
Source: kfbb.com
Author: Kacey Drescher
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Max Media of Montana
Website: Medical Marijuana Community Tries to Recover After Raids
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