Medical marijuana facility raid stirs Prop 203 debate
The fiery statewide debate over medical marijuana in Arizona is refueled by a single incident in Tempe. Last year, voters legalized the marijuana by a slim majority, but the law has since been put on hold as the courts decide if it violates federal l Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The fiery statewide debate over medical marijuana in Arizona is refueled by a single incident in Tempe.
Last year, voters legalized medical marijuana by a slim majority, but the law has since been put on hold as the courts decide if it violates federal law. Thursday, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency raided a medical marijuana facility, seizing pot and sending Prop 203 back in the spotlight.
The clinic's Facebook page states: "AZ-GO-GREEN is a medical marijuana certification center providing a safe access for potential card holders to obtain their certification in a private environment."
But the DEA, which performed the raid, says its owners were selling marijuana. During the raid, they took a sign listing prices.
“I think it's pretty clear cut,” retired DEA special agent Doug Hebert told 9OYS. “The Drug Enforcement Administration obviously enforces federal drug laws and marijuana is still considered a scheduled control one substance under federal law so they were enforcing federal drugs laws.” Hebert is part of Keep AZ Drug Free.
James Chaney and Rachel Beeder of the facility were arrested and face charges of possession, among others.
From jail, Beeder reportedly said she was just following Arizona's Prop 203, which aimed to legalize medical marijuana. But the law has been put on hold and state says no one should be selling cannabis.
Local medical marijuana advocates explain the raid was an aggressive move by the federal government when Arizona should really be in charge.
9 On Your Side reporter Kevin Keen asked Kimberly Haslett of Southwest Arizona Patient Alliance, “Is there a possibility that that clinic was breaking either state or federal laws?” “They're breaking federal law, of course, because it's still against the law federally,” she replied. “I can't determine whether they were breaking state law. I think the state should handle this--not the DEA.”
When asked about the impact of the raid, Haslett said, “I'm sure there will be some effects, but I just hope the patients, the advocates stay strong and not allow this kind of intimidation.”
“I think the implications are we're going see more of this,” Hebert said.