Today’s weirdness comes courtesy of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which quoted one of my “Toke Signals” Seattle Weekly medical marijuana dispensary reviews in the search warrant affidavit for a Seattle collective which was raided on Tuesday.
The review, which was a positive one for Seattle Cannabis Co-Op, was printed in the Weekly back in March. It’s not apparent why the DEA would choose to quote the review in their search warrant affidavit, since none of the alleged improprieties mentioned elsewhere in the warrant were even hinted at in the review.
But there it was to greet me this morning, before I’d even had time to fortify myself with a cup of coffee: “DEA Medical-Marijuana Dispensary Search Warrant Quotes Seattle Weekly Toke Signals Column.”
I can tell you, it’s a startling experience to see your words quoted in a DEA search warrant, and not at all a pleasant one. Once I got over my initial anger and switched to a more analytical frame of mind, I had to wonder if the odd tactic had a strategy behind it — perhaps inculcating paranoia and discouraging openness and communication within the medical marijuana community.
The search warrant affidavit is authored by Kent Police officer David Trogdon, who is assigned to a DEA-affiliated drug task force based in SeaTac, according to the Weekly‘s Keegan Hamilton.
Since medical marijuana was legalized by Washington voters back in 1998 — and Trogdon took a solemn oath to uphold state law — the officer feels the need to offer a torturous explanation that his participation in the sting is OK because the targets do not “comply with the letter and spirit of existing state law.”
How convenient a talent it must be for Officer Trogdon — who reportedly makes $3,477 a month — to not only make such calls, but in so doing to twist himself into such unnatural and unbecoming positions!
The unpleasant outcome is that my name is now associated with a DEA raid since my words are quoted in the search warrant, although nothing I said in the review in any way backed up any of the allegations contained further down in the affidavit.
In fact, here is the “Toke Signals” reference in its entirety:
“In this article, the author discussed buying various varieties of marijuana, including ‘Pineapple Express’ (‘frankly a bit disappointing, feeling underpowered at $13 a gram’), ‘Dankest Kahn,’ (‘has a pleasantly spicy taste and rapid onset, but limited sustain’), and ‘Hawaiian Snow,’ (‘a good buy at $8 a gram, which looked and tasted like a slightly early harvest.’)”
So why is the Toke Signals mention listed as item “20” on the warrant? Does the DEA really need my personal impressions of Pineapple Express, Dankest Kahn, and Hawaiian Snow to execute a dispensary search?
Remember, taxpayer, it’s your money that finances this foolishness.
My side job (Toke of the Town being my main gig) as “Toke Signals” cannabis dispensary reviewer for the Seattle Weekly is a good one. I’ve written 42 columns, and counting.
But my work as marijuana reviewer just got more difficult thanks to the DEA’s inexplicable and puzzling decision to include my impressions of a few medicinal cannabis strains in their warrant — which possibly, even probably, was their intent.
Bottom line: The target of these raids likely wasn’t just the dispensaries. It was probably also the dispensary ads and reviews in major newspapers like the Seattle Weekly. I believe the intended outcome was a “chilling effect” on both the ads and the reviews, because federal marijuana prohibitionists don’t like for folks to be informed and empowered.
Of course, the silver lining is, the feds have succeeded in making themselves look even more ridiculous than usual.
|From the DEA’s official search warrant affidavit|