|Drew Perine/The Tacoma News Tribune|
|Before the bust: North End Club 420’s Guy Casey tends to marijuana plants|
Two men who operate a Tacoma, Washington medical marijuana dispensary pleaded not guilty Thursday to drug charges stemming from an undercover police operation.
Michael Jonathan Schaef, Guy Lewis Casey and their supporters say authorities unfairly targeted them. Medical marijuana was legalized by Washington state voters in 1998.
The dispensary, North End Club 420, was open again Thursday morning, two days after it was raided, report Adam Lynn and Rob Carson with the The Tacoma News-Tribune.
“Helping sick people get their medical marijuana is not illegal,” said Kristine Casey, who works at North End Club 20 and is married to Guy Casey.
Both men were allowed to remain free Thursday after posting bail following their Tuesday arrests.
Police claim the two sold marijuana to people who were not authorized patients, kept a larger supply on hand than allowed, and charged exorbitant prices to enrich themselves.
Schaef and Casey said statements from police and prosecutors “grossly misrepresent” their motives, their operation, and their legality.
“They said we were in this because of greed and that we’re making thousands of dollars,” Schaef said. “That is crazy.”
Kristine Casey said police destroyed her famnily’s home in Olalla during the marijuana raid.
Prosecutors claim in charging papers that police found 76 marijuana plants, a small amount of packaged marijuana and $3,000 at the Caseys’ home.
An undercover officer and an informant earlier this year claim they bought marijuana at the club without having a valid doctor’s authorization for medical marijuana, according to documents. Whether that means the informants had fake authorizations, or none at all, is still unanswered.
Schaef said the club had not dispensed marijuana to people without a doctor’s authorization form. He said it was possible that some had used forged papers.
Shaef, 48, is charged with three counts of unlawful delivery of marijuana and one count each of unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and unlawful “manufacture of marijuana.”
Casey, also 48, is charged with two counts of unlawful delivery of marijuana and one count each of unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful “manufacture of marijuana.”