The US government’s widespread efforts to crack down on the medical cannabis industry claimed nearly a dozen new victims this week, putting the MMJ industry on edge with the November elections quickly approaching.
– In Oregon, federal agents and local and state authorities raided seven sites tied to well-known MMJ grower James Bowman, who runs the state’s largest medical marijuana cultivation operation. No one was arrested, but plants and other assets at seven Bowman’s High Hopes Farm sites were seized in the raids. Bowman talked openly and extensively about his operation to the media, even acknowledging the possibility of a federal raid. Despite the risks, he doubled his patient base to 200 this year and increased his plant count to 400, becoming the largest cultivation operation in the state. There are two takeaways for medical cannabis professionals: 1) the larger your operation, the more likely you’ll find federal agents at the door, and 2) if you’re going to grow rapidly, you might not want to talk about it in such a public forum.
– In Colorado, 10 cannabis dispensaries have closed within the past few days after receiving a warning last month from the federal government, according to the U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado. The dispensaries were all located within 1,000 feet of a school. They had until Monday to close or relocate, with the threat of prosecution hanging over their heads. The attorney’s office has sent out three batches of warning letters to Colorado dispensaries this year, resulting in the closure of 60 MMJ centers across the state. Some have been able to relocate, but that’s proved difficult for many given the heavy financial burden involved in moving and the lack of suitable space located far enough away from schools in some areas.
More letters will be sent out in the weeks and months to come. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the DEA will continue this initiative until all marijuana stores within 1,000 feet of a school are closed,” according to the press release on the district attorney’s website. “A fourth wave of warning letters will be forthcoming as marijuana stores are identified within this 1,000 foot ‘drug-free school zone.'”