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Photo: Jesse Tinsley/The Spokane Spokesman-Review
Outside the THC Pharmacy medical marijuana dispensary, activists chant “DEA, go away!” in protest on Perry St. in Spokane, Wash., Thursday, April 28, 2011. The DEA raided the dispensary while most dispensary owners and pot activists were at a meeting about how to handle DEA raids.

​The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conducted aggressive, SWAT-style raids on Thursday on at least three dispensaries in Spokane, Washington, that provided medical marijuana to qualified patients.

Earlier this month, numerous facilities shut down after U.S. District Attorney Michael Ormsby threatened numerous landlords in Spokane with seizure of their property if they keep letting their tenants provide medical marijuana to state-compliant patients. These actions come at the same time the state is trying to pass Senate Bill 5073, which modifies Washington’s 1998 medical marijuana law to specifically allow dispensaries.

Graphic: Phawker

​It didn’t take long for the feds to follow through on their threat of federal raids in Washington after the governor refused to sign a bill which would have legalized medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.
A medical marijuana raid preparedness class in Spokane was interrupted Thursday so that the participants could go protest ongoing dispensary raids by federal agents, according to patient advocacy group the Cannabis Defense Coalition.

CDC, based in Seattle, had already scheduled raid preparedness classes around the state this week. It turns out that the training is even more timely and needed than the group may have imagined.

At about 2 p.m. on Thursday, federal agents, apparently assisted by local police, began executing a raid against a medical cannabis provider, THC Pharmacy, at 1108 South Perry Street in Spokane, according to Phil Mocek of the CDC.

Photo: Jesse Tinsley/Spokesman-Review
Paul Ellis sold medical marijuana from this Spokane Valley strip mall until he was raided by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office — days after giving them a tour of the place and of his home marijuana grow operation. In the window is reflected a Washington State Patrol office.

​Paul Ellis thought he wasn’t doing anything wrong when he opened a medical marijuana dispensary in Spokane, Washington last December. He located the operation, called Med Mar Dis, across the street from a Washington State Patrol office, and asked the sergeant who worked there if Ellis could use law enforcement labs to test his cannabis for contaminants.

But Spokane County Sheriff’s detectives didn’t see things that way, reports Nina Shapiro at our sister Village Voice Media blog, Seattle Weekly. The Spokane County Prosecutor’s office is considering filing drug charges against Ellis after detectives raided his dispensary and home on September 2, reports Meghann M. Cuniff at the Spokane Spokesman-Review.