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Montana Dispensary Raid Update: Montana Buds Re-Opens; ‘We Got Robbed’

DEA Agent and local law enforcement at Montana Buds dispensary raid in Four Corners
Photo by Cannabis Now Staff

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Montana Dispensary Raid Update: Montana Buds Re-Opens; ‘We Got Robbed’

The state of Montana’s largest medical cannabis franchise, Montana Buds, re-opened Thursday, after a Wednesday raid at one of the brand’s stores in Four Corners, MT that sent a chill through the country’s industry.

Representatives from Montana Buds Four Corners told Cannabis Now Thursday that no arrests were made in the Wednesday raid. Local and federal law enforcement cut down plants and seized property for hours at the retail store in the town outside of Bozeman, and then left.

“There’s a reason they showed up wearing masks and didn’t arrest anyone. We didn’t get raided, we got robbed,” said a representative, who didn’t want to be named due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.

Washington DC spokespeople for the Drug Enforcement Administration did not answer emailed requests for comment.

Seven of eight Montana Buds are open in the longtime battleground state for medical cannabis access Friday. The Four Corners store remains closed. “We’re not going to run away from them and we’re not going to be scared, and our stores are open today because we have done nothing wrong,” the representative said.

Agents from the DEA and a local task force raided the franchise of the state’s largest medical cannabis provider at 10:30 a.m. when the store opened Wednesday morning.

Witnesses at the raid at Montana Buds in Four Corners, MT reported six members of law enforcement taking items out of the dispensary and placing them in a storage trailer.

“I have no idea why they are being attacked, [the dispensary owner] 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=”QkSCRNmmMxg” source=”youtube” width=”600″ height=”486″ autoplay=”no”]

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. Federal prosecutors recently gave up its pursuit of two of California’s most well-known medical cannabis operators, Lynnette Shaw, and Harborside Health Center of Oakland.

The raid sent a chill through the medical cannabis community in Montana, which is already in crisis-mode after the state’s Supreme Court ruled against patients in February.

Activists — including the state’s marijuana providers — are working to fund and gather signatures in support of Initiative 182 which explicitly legalizes dispensaries, and repeals state laws that clipped the industry starting in 2011. Montana voters enacted Initiative 148 in 2004, decriminalizing medical cannabis, including small, personal grows, starting a seven-year industry expansion through 2011.

The Montana marijuana industry also appealed the February Montana State Supreme Court verdict to the Supreme Court of the United States, said Kate Cholewa, lobbyist for the Montana Cannabis Industry Association.

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 more than likely delay, patients in Montana can motion to stay the Aug. 31 shutdown of the industry, pending SCOTUS review.

Montana Buds is a large provider in the state, according to Cholewa. She told Cannabis Now that 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 I-182 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.”

Attorney Chris Lindsey with the Montana chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws also told Cannabis Now that 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.”

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

Tell Us below, do you think they were robbed?

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. bud blazier

    May 27, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    https://youtu.be/2E8xc_B1tWE Masked agents rob legal pot growers in Bozeman, Montana

  2. Jim

    May 27, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Law enforcement is on a slippery slope as more and more states are relaxing marijuana laws. Every time a new private prison opens they are guaranteed 90% occupancy. With less than 5% of the world’s population and over 25% of the world’s prisoners, the land of the free ain’t so much. Law emforcement and private prison corporations are the biggest lobbyists for mandantory sentencing and the three strikes law.

    Seizing of property is a cash source for law enforcement. Since the war on drugs started in the 80s prison capacity has tripled. Federal prisoners are paid a quarter an hour and prisons contract out that labor to defense contractors and other manufacturers. The governor of South Carolina touted cheap labor as an incentive for companies to move there. Cheap prison labor. Almost all armor for our troops is prison made.

    There was no prison system in America before the civil war. Afterward, Huey Long and other southern politicians replaced slaves with prison workers. Prisoners were contracted to cotton and sugar plantations and forced to work. The wardens were paid a commission.

  3. cathie Bailey

    May 23, 2016 at 4:47 am

    I would like to talk to all cannabis growers – retailers & clients. There is a plan B. I would like to discuss with all of you to unite and execute this Plan B for your protection please email me so I can give you some information. It is time to stand united on this as a whole. [email protected]

    • Kellie

      January 31, 2017 at 9:49 am

      Interested

  4. Christine Brock

    May 22, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    They definitely got robbed!!!

  5. lance

    May 21, 2016 at 9:07 am

    marijuana is a schedule 1 drug according to the US Government, meaning it has NO medical value. Then why does the US Government have a US patent for one of the main components of marijuana for its amazing medical properties?
    US Patent# 6630507…its time the government is called on there bullshit

  6. christy

    May 21, 2016 at 8:13 am

    It’s Ridiculous, It has helped me beyond recognition, @ Now they want to step back, they need to refocus there vision on REAL DRUG.. METH, COKE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. This just pisses you rigt off!!!it’s a plant, with GREAT Medical uses!!!

  7. Roberta Foginthemorning

    May 21, 2016 at 6:01 am

    The feds, huh?. Got nothing better to do, those Jack asses. Law enforcement is a whole different meaning, than what we have as law enforcement. We the people of the mm industry will overcome this kind of bs…. We’re going to stand together and make it legal for mm patient’s to get there mm, Werther l.I. will like it or not. One thing that I read was,that the country is working on a militants law and it’s going to get worse. So people be aware of this bs that’s coming our way.

  8. James Savstrom

    May 20, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    Someone no doubt sent these men into action. Yes they were robbed! By whom? A judge? A state attorney, a Federal attorney? I am certain that this behavior is unwarranted and unwanted by the people of Montana!

  9. Desirae

    May 20, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    I work at the hotel that these people who did the raid stayed in and the rooms reeked of marijuana. They had definitely been smoking in there. And federal agents cannot keep their evidence with them personally so why did it smell that way?! They definitely did rob you! This is wrong and someone needs to be held accountable!

  10. Shalon Doney

    May 20, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Yes!! What the federal agents did was nothing short of the most criminal act I have ever witnessed. Each one of those plants belonged to a patient who needed it for medicine. There is no basis for the DESTRUCTION they caused to Montana Buds and its patients.

    • Nicorie Steinpfad

      May 20, 2016 at 6:47 pm

      Civil forfeiture at it’s finest! Apparently there’s some DEA pensions and retirement funds hurting since Colorado went legal… No one to pick on but the little guy… Shame on you.

    • ryan smith

      May 20, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      Everyone needs to notice the timing, our attorney general (TIM FOX) invites these federal agents into our state before elections/legislative sessions. He does this because it is his one defense of his ATTACK on med marijuana in the state, he always says that he is “saving them” from federal intervention when, again he has ALOT to do with why they are here. He thinks montanans are stupid and he is trying to trick the voters into thinking he is “protecting” people. He is merely protecting himself. Frankly the montana program wouldnt be in the dire straits it is it wasnt for him and his heartless actions.

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