Over at Slog, Dominic Holden has posted a copy of the heavily-redacted police report from Tuesday’s raid on the Lifevine medical marijuana office in the University District. The police involvement in this case began when the operator of a barbershop adjacent to the Lifevine office reported the smell of marijuana to police. According to the Seattle Times, the barbershop owner was unaware that the office was being used by medical marijuana patients.
When the police arrived, Martin Martinez from Lifevine cooperated with them (Martin was actually one of the people who helped pass the initiative in 1998 that was intended to make medical marijuana legal in this state). After communicating with Ellen O’Neill-Stephens in the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office, the police were then able to obtain a warrant to conduct a search. During the search, the police took out a wall in the office, convinced that there was a secret grow operation behind it. They found no plants growing anywhere.
They then took both medicine (12 ounces) and patient files from the office. In an interview with KUOW this morning, King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg acknowledged that the medical files should not have been taken and they are being returned this afternoon. The police are still refusing to return the medicine, even though the amount taken is within the draft 60-day supply limits proposed by the Department of Health.
Even as this situation inches towards a positive resolution, there are still a lot of questions. Why did the police take the files in the first place? Were they authorized by O’Neill-Stephens to do so? Is SPD going to pay for the wall they damaged? And how are the actions of SPD in any way compliant with Initiative 75, which made adult marijuana use the lowest priority for the city’s law enforcement, so that they could, you know, deal with real crimes?
And there’s one other question here that’s not directly related to marijuana laws. Why didn’t the barbershop owner try to find out why there was a marijuana odor coming from the office next door before calling the cops? This is a peculiar Seattle trait that I’ve noticed. People here will call in NATO to intervene with a neighborhood dispute before they’ll actually knock on their neighbor’s door and ask what’s up. I just don’t get it.