Pierre Warner isn’t a famous guy in most circles. But in Colorado and Nevada, Warner – also known as Dr. Reefer – marked one of the first major arrests in the dispensary-era of medical cannabis. A dispensary owner and flamboyant promoter of his dispensaries and marijuana referral services in both states, Warner wasn’t shy about what he did.
And that, he says, made him the target for federal law enforcement who brought him and his mom down for operating an undercover marijuana dispensary in Las Vegas. For the last 22 months, Warner has been in federal prison in California.
Warner’s arrest in 2011 in a coordinated federal raid across Las Vegas insultingly dubbed “Operation Chronic Problem” was just one of 15 dispensary operators in the city. Warner, however, was the one the feds made the most high-profile case out of and handed him 41 months in jail.
Before that, Warner had opened his Dr. Reefer dispensary in Boulder, Colo. around 2009, and was briefly involved in activism campaigning against laws that eventually framed the legal system for medical marijuana dispensaries that still stands to this day. At one point, Warner even got into a fight with two men who tried to rob his Boulder dispensary and managed to get one captured before police arrived.
But the last two years or so have been much more easygoing – despite being in prison. In a review with the Las Vegas Review-Journal,
Dr. ReeferWarner says he was in a “Clubhouse on an Island” near L.A. with workout facilities and cable TV in the dorm-like bunk cells.
Still, Warner doesn’t look back on his time in jail fondly nor is very happy about being arrested for operating something that has now been deemed completely legal in Las Vegas.
He says it was his brash billboards in Las Vegas – a gambling and entertainment mecca for people from all over the country and the world – offended federal agents and that he was targeted for exercising his first amendment rights.
“The feds did me dirty,” he tells the Review-Journal.
Warner did get the longest time in jail, but part of that came due to his previous drug conviction charges for meth in the 80s 170 pounds of pot in the 2000s. His last bust in Vegas to feds was for just a few grams of pot to a federal agent.
In prison, Warner says he was forced into treatment and to admit he was “addicted” to marijuana. He says that was nothing more than continued government propaganda. He says he realized the gravity of his situation against the government though, and says he’s done with medical cannabis – for now.
“That’s what really got to me, he said. “When are people going to wake up and realize that medical marijuana can actually help people? Well, I’m giving it all up. Somebody else is going to have to take up the cause.”
Warner says anyone getting into the dispensary business is a fool.
“It could be a trap,” he warns. “The feds can come in at any time and ruin your life. It doesn’t matter what state law says. You could serve 20 years in prison for it. Twenty years. For marijuana. Think about that.