U.S. Atty. Threatens ‘Quick, Direct Action’ Against Dispensaries


Photo: TPM
Obama appointee U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby threatened both Washington dispensary owners and the landlords who rent to them on Wednesday.

“We are preparing for quick and direct action against the operators of the stores. We intend to use the full extent of our legal remedies to enforce the law.”

~ U.S. Attorney Michael C. Ormsby
A U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington decided to throw his weight around Wednesday, announcing that he’s notified landlords that “marijuana stores” are illegal, and warning them of the penalties they may face.

The strong-arm tactics by U.S. Attorney Michael C. Ormsby, an Obama appointee, seemed designed to intimidate landlords into evicting medical marijuana dispensaries who are tenants. The dispensaries have become increasingly common in Washington state, with one count placing their number above 120 and rapidly rising.
Marijuana continues to be prohibited for any purpose by federal law, and according to Ormsby, dispensaries are “specifically” subject to “enforcement action and stringent federal penalties.”

Photo: U.S. Attorney’s Office
U.S. Attorney Michael C. Ormsby: “We intend to use the full extent of our legal remedies to enforce the law”

​The timing of Ormsby’s attempt at intimidation isn’t accidental. As he makes his threats, the Washington Legislature is on the verge of formally legalizing medicinal cannabis dispensaries in the state.
Washington’s current medical marijuana law, passed overwhelmingly by voters in 1998, doesn’t specifically allow dispensaries, nor does it prohibit them.
“FDA has not approved smoked marijuana for any condition or disease indication,” reads Ormsby’s press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, dated Wednesday, April 6. “Accordingly, FDA, as the federal agency responsible for reviewing the safety and efficacy of drugs, DEA as the federal agency charged with enforcing the CSA [Controlled Substances Act], and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, as the federal coordinator of drug control policy, do not support the use of smoked marijuana for medical purposes.”
Notice the emphasis that “smoked marijuana” is the bad thing? That’s because the feds have nothing at all against synthetic forms of THC — because those offer huge profits to their buddies in Big Pharma — you know, those major campaign contributors. Mmhm, those guys.
“The proliferation of marijuana stores, which are not authorized under state law, suggests that drug traffickers are attempting to avoid application of the state law through the use of these stores,” Ormsby claimed. (This is the old federal tactic of just calling ’em “drug traffickers” and ignoring the facts, when it comes to medical marijuana providers who are legal under state law.)
“Drug traffickers cannot hide behind the law by simply claiming they are medical marijuana stores,” Ormsby said.
According to information gathered by “drug enforcement authorities,” there are currently more than 40 dispensaries in Spokane County alone, “more than any other county in the State,” Ormsby’s puffed-up, self-important little press release claims. (Meanwhile back in reality, King County, where Seattle is located, has far more dispensaries not only than just Spokane, but more than the rest of the state combined.)
According to Ormsby’s alarmist, knee-jerk rhetoric, “Many of these stores are located close to schools, parks, and playgrounds where children are often present.”
“Additionally, many of these stores are conducting a high volume, high dollar business, far from the allegations of the operators that they are furnishing marijuana to ‘patients’ with debilitating medical conditions,” added Ormsby, who is, by God, one mean son of a bitch for putting those sarcastic quote marks around “patients.”
Yeah, Ormsby did that in his sordid little press release; if you’re an obnoxiously ambitious U.S. Attorney with a cob up his ass about cannabis, you get to do shit like that.
“Our goal is to first seek voluntary compliance with the law by notifying property of non-conforming use of their property, with the expectation that they take appropriate action,” Ormsby threatened. “If they do not, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will determine the appropriate law enforcement response, which could include the forfeiture of the property used to facilitate the crimes.”
“There are two targets to our enforcement action; the operators of the stores and the owners of the real property where the stores operate,” Ormsby’s release says. “The property owners have been notified of the penalties associated with renting property to those operating the stores, as they may be unaware of the ramifications of such action.”
Ormsby said he hopes that the “notice to the landlords” (i.e., strong-arm intimidation tactic) will lead to “voluntary compliance” and eviction of those “illegal distributing marijuana.”
But he wasn’t content to just threaten the dispensaries with eviction.
“We are preparing for quick and direct action against the operators of the stores. We intend to use the full extent of our legal remedies to enforce the law.”