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Breaking: DEA Raids Montana’s Largest Medical Marijuana Dispensary Montana Buds

Photos by Cannabis Now Staff

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Breaking: DEA Raids Montana’s Largest Medical Marijuana Dispensary Montana Buds

[Updated 2:04 p.m. MST]

Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement from around Bozeman, Montana are raiding one of the battleground state’s largest medical cannabis providers this morning.

Witnesses at the raid at Montana Buds in Four Corners, MT report six members of law enforcement taking items out of the dispensary and placing them in a storage trailer. One women was seen hand-cuffed and sitting on the sidewalk.

“I have no idea why they are being attacked, [owner] Chuck has always been a great neighbor,” said Four Corners metalworking business owner Mike Winters.

A DEA agent on the scene declined to comment, stating “this is now a federal investigation.”

[vsw id=”3tlk9lTRvlk” source=”youtube” width=”600″ height=”486″ autoplay=”no”]

DEA agent asks Cannabis Now Magazine to leave ongoing raid.

Montana voters enacted Initiative 148 in 2004, decriminalizing medical cannabis, including small, personal grows, starting a seven-year industry expansion through 2011. State laws deeply cut back the scope of the industry, beginning that year.

The state’s Supreme Court ruled dispensaries were illegal in February, under Montana’s relatively narrow medical cannabis laws. The ruling goes into effect in August.

DEA raids Montana dispensary Montana Buds May 2016Activists are gathering signatures for an initiative to protect lawful access to medical cannabis in retail stores.

The federal government is generally standing down in the face of ongoing medical and adult-use legalization. The Department of Justice is under guidance from the White House to focus its limited resources away from state-legal cannabis activity. The Department of Justice recently gave up its pursuit of two of California’s most well-known medical cannabis operators, Lynnette Shaw, and Harborside Health Center of Oakland.

Neither the DEA nor Montana Buds immediately returned request for comment. All Montana Buds statewide are closed, but have not been raided.

As the hours passed, DEA agents cut down cannabis plants located near the retail store, and expanded their search to include other buildings, and requested additional warrants. DEA agents interviewed neighbors about ties to hard drugs like cocaine and heroin witnesses said.

One neighbor replied, “they run a clean operation”, witnesses said.

By noon, several members of the community gathered in a crowd. “This is crazy,” said one local Montana medical cannabis provider. “It makes me sick to my stomach.”

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Montana Buds employee being escorted out of dispensary by law enforcement.

Montana Buds is a large provider in the state, according to Kate Cholewa, lobbyist for the Montana Cannabis Industry Association. She could not comment on the company’s reputation, and the business is not a member of MCIA.

She said whether or not the business was following state law – either instance is cause for better state rules. The MCIA is about half-way to collecting enough signatures to put a dispensary initiative on the November ballot.

“We have a problematic law. It’s really not functional at all,” she said. “If it’s bad state laws or bad actors — it doesn’t matter. We need an initiative in place so we have clear laws so people can follow them in Montana with licenses and inspections.”

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Paid signature gatherers have fanned out across the state to complete petitions in support of Initiative 182. About 34,000 raw signatures will be filed by the deadline, June 17, she said.

“We just need people to sign the petitions and show up to vote in November,” Cholewa said.

Attorney Chris Lindsey with the Montana chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws also agreed the state needs modern cannabis regulations now – by popular vote or through the legislature.

“We do not yet know what the basis is for the law enforcement activity, and so we are not in a position to speculate. What we can say, is the best way to minimize law enforcement activity against marijuana-related businesses is through a meaningful regulatory system. Montana’s system is practically non-existent and falls short of practically any standard. Montanans may soon be in a position to change that, whether its through the voter initiative process currently underway, or through the state legislature next year. Either way, we hope Montana can significantly improve the current law.”

In other news, MCIA has appealed the February Montana State Supreme Court verdict to the Supreme Court of the United States, Cholewa said. SCOTUS can either dismiss the appeal, agree to hear it, or delay a decision until after their June recess, she said. If SCOTUS agrees to hear the appeal or delay it, patients in Montana can motion to stay the Aug. 31 shutdown of the industry, pending SCOTUS review.

All video footage property of Cannabis Now. For licensing requests, please contact [email protected]

31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. cannavapos

    December 19, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    This is such a shame. So much public money wasted going after pot growers…

  2. VapeActive

    August 3, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    This not good. Shame on DEA!

  3. James

    May 7, 2017 at 5:40 am

    Medical marijuana is competition for big pharma, so they send the DEA after them.

    • brooklynshoebabe

      December 13, 2017 at 11:54 am

      Exactly!

  4. VaporSmooth

    April 23, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Wasting tax payers money!

  5. Volcano Vaporizer

    February 16, 2017 at 4:53 am

    This is not good. This is against the laws. We need to take strict action against this.

  6. MrVapo

    October 29, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    This was not the first MM dispensary raid this year. The problem is that some dispensaries are under investigation that involves heroine & cocaine. Really sad to see this.

  7. lance

    May 21, 2016 at 9:20 am

    US Patent # 6630507

  8. Naomi newman

    May 19, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Spend time busting the real criminals please. I personally am sickened that meth dealers continue to infect children daily, and they are still walking the streets. Are you scared to arrest them? They are scary. Ive never met a scary pot head! Hopefully these investigations are spent investigating the real trouble!! Cigarettes are legal, but vapes are being outlawed. Alcohol is fine, but weed is an issue. At this point everyone knows it’s not about people getting well. It’s all about the money. Sad

  9. pedro

    May 19, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Shame on DEA, its a war against the sick and humanity. Go after some real criminals damit!

  10. og kush is my cologne

    May 19, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Montana us medical? Thats news to me ….
    Shop raids? Kind of sonething ur going to have to get used to … Still happening here and we founded medical….

    • Oscar viklwock

      May 19, 2016 at 8:01 pm

      I have no idea and I don’t understand why they read a legal marijuana growing facilityit’s medical marijuana I bet you any money if the DEA agent in the police or someone in the government had someone in their family that was sick and I need to be treated for THC I bet you any money they be f****** running to go smoke I just think it’s b******* Marijuana Is Not A Dangerous Drug and it doesn’t lead to other drugs tell me marijuana is just a drug that people use a lot for recreational use for mailing out coming down relaxing and when people smoke it there too f****** high and too relaxed to do anything criminal

      • Oscar viklwock

        May 19, 2016 at 8:04 pm

        long story short I just think that the government just a bunch of f****** b****** bunch of assholes marijuana is not hardcore drug and it doesn’t lead to other drugs but yet people can have meth labs and all kinds of b******* you don’t see anybody getting busted on TV with a meth lab once in a blue moon you will you turn on the TV and it’s always marijuana marijuana marijuana marijuana government just a bunch of b****** and a bunch of assholes f*** the DEA and government f****** Marijuana Is Not A Dangerous Drug

  11. libertylover

    May 19, 2016 at 8:51 am

    DEA: Dick Eating Assholes

  12. jason

    May 18, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    C’mon, they didn’t go after other chain dispensaries in town or in the state. Having been in their Bozeman store once, their business practices were highly suspect to educated eyes, and at the time it seemed that state-line violations were taking place on some level. If so, it would explain enforcement actions like the one seen here.

    • Jackie Johnson

      May 19, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      This is exactly right! They didn’t follow rules and regs and engaged in illegal business practices, according to my dispensary.

  13. Erin

    May 18, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    We the people of the state of Montana voted to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. The state overturned those laws. Now the DEA comes in and raids a legal MMJ shop. What happened to the Federal Government not getting involved? As a citizen I am sickened by this monstrosity of a government that we have and I am dumbfounded that the people of the state of Montana stood mute and let this happen. Where is your voice? Are you just going to lay down and let them do this? If you believe in Medical Marijuana or you don’t, it’s time we made a stand.

    • Joe Momma

      May 19, 2016 at 1:56 pm

      I’m from the Government and I’m here to fuck you.

      • motamama

        May 19, 2016 at 3:53 pm

        What??? Later dude..ur poisens..

  14. Bill

    May 18, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    Big pharma want to keep pushing their poison!!

  15. John satre

    May 18, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Thugs with badges,if your federal standard is different from the states then when ever some idiot gets an itch let’s blow up a business that helps people from o d ing from opiates

  16. Linda Little

    May 18, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    The government said that they were going to stand down so DEA needs to go. If the government is going to lie then what do we need them for? The government is supposed to be for the people and represent people and be of the people, time for a new government. Since Montana’s government is trying to repeal the majority vote of the people those officials have to go, they no longer represent us. If we let them get away with this what will they do next? They are all lying. The feds said they were going to reschedule canibus but obviously they are not going to, approve it for PTSD, I think not. They are all in bed with the pharmaceutical companies who are making fat profits in exchange for lives through addiction, accidental overdose and suicide. If we don’t stop them who will?

  17. Bozeman resident

    May 18, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    It appears that the concern is not merely medical Cannabis, but rather an investigation involving heroine and cocaine. Having said that, I do completely agree with the above comments regarding any dea involvement related to MM.

  18. Fuckface

    May 18, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    This is against the people’s will. When will we stand up against these thugs who want to steal our basic human rights.

  19. Victoria Harper

    May 18, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Idk what’s wrong with them, taking away pot. Go find a meth lab, not a registered address you can find online. This is not what I’m paying taxes for. Better bet that ill be calling every single person that will listen or has a voice mail in our legislation. Raiding a clean, structured, educational business for what purpose? To bring more hate to law enforcement?

    • John satre

      May 18, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      I hear you

  20. Dennis Pridemore

    May 18, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    The dea needs to stay the fuck out of our state. Because there just pissed because there bosses(drug companies)are losing money if people smoke pot that’s less people to get hooked on prescription drugs. Fuck the gov.

    • jazi

      May 18, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      Better question is who called them. I think we all know that answer.

      • YENDO

        May 19, 2016 at 5:29 pm

        Do we? Some of us are curious.

  21. Buzz Danklin

    May 18, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    Really sad to see this, the MMJ laws in Montana are already fluid and restrictive enough for both patients and providers to worry about without adding more to the mess.

  22. chris stein

    May 18, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    what a joke….how bout we go after all the doctors and drug companies who are flooding our streets with opiates and could care fucking less about the damage they are doing..cause the DEA is in the pocket of these companies…If the big pharm companies starting producing smoke, the dea wouldnt even think twice…its a fucking joke what this country has become….

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