Shutting Down Smart Prioritization

I linked to this story in last night’s post on Mexico, but what’s happening in Spokane is causing a lot head-scratching today:

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Spokane face federal prosecution if they do not end their operations immediately, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

Federal authorities hope for voluntary compliance but are prepared “for quick and direct action against the operators of the stores,” according to a statement by Mike Ormsby, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

Federal authorities will target both the operators of the stores and the owners of the properties where the stores are located, he said.

The Obama Administration’s stated policy for states like Washington that have medical marijuana laws has been that U.S. Attorneys should only get involved in enforcing the federal marijuana prohibition if people aren’t following the state laws. So while Ormsby is technically following the directive, it’s the timing that’s curious. Our legislature is currently working to make the dispensaries legal, and Spokane isn’t the only city with dispensaries in limbo. In fact, most urban areas in Washington already have dispensaries that serve patients. So why Spokane? And why now?

What makes this even more curious is the fact that we have a looming government shutdown this week. And while much of the work of the Justice Department continues during a shutdown, those offices have to scale back their workload. In light of those circumstances, what in the hell was Ormsby thinking?


  1. 1

    Michael spews:

    I’m still puzzled why anyone would use a marijuana dispensary, all it does is put you on a list and make you a target for idiots like Mike Ormsby.

    Seeds are easy to find and no one’s going to bother you if you grow a couple of plants for your own personal use.

  2. 2


    The people who need dispensaries the most are those with physical limitations to providing for themselves (being wheelchair-bound or going through chemotherapy). And there are lot of folks in that category. A lot more than most people realize.

  3. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Orsmby has a fairly thin resume; I wonder why Murray nominated him, and Obama chose him?

  4. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Orsmby has a fairly thin resume; I wonder why Murray nominated him, and Obama chose him?

  5. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    It’s hard to ignore this particular election supervisor’s very partisan leanings, her checkered past, her very close personal ties to Prosser, and her previous involvement in GOP corruption. These 7,500 ballots are just too convenient to not receive the utmost investigative scrutiny.

  6. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Oops, #8 ended up in the wrong thread somehow. HA has been acting weird on my computer later.

  7. 10

    Jeff Gilmore spews:

    Is Michael Ormsby U.S. Attorney any relation to Timm Ormsby state legislator?