Montana Dispensaries Latest Targets in Widening Medical Pot Crackdown

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The Obama administration’s ballooning crackdown on the medical marijuana industry has extended to Montana, with federal agents raiding a dozen medical marijuana dispensaries and several financial institutions in the past few days.

The move  follows similar actions this week in Washington State and earlier this fall in California. As in the Washington crackdown, the government said in Montana that it specifically targeted businesses violating state laws rather than those “who are in clear and unambiguous compliance” with local regulations and rules. It is charging the dispensaries and financial institutions with everything from illegally growing and selling marijuana to money laundering and conspiracy.

“Twelve new search warrants were carried out…because sufficient probable cause was established to support that the premises were involved in illegal and large-scale trafficking of marijuana,” U.S. District Attorney Michael Cotter said in a press release. “When criminal networks violate federal laws in Montana those involved will be prosecuted.”

The moves are the result of a year-long investigation by several agencies including the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Officials did not say whether anyone was arrested, but some dispensary owners reported that agents took computers, data and marijuana plants. Others said their bank accounts have been frozen.