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Justice Department Threatens To Close Spokane Pot Dispensaries



U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby sent letters to dozens of local property owners today, warning them that the medical marijuana dispensaries on their properties were illegal and that they could face criminal penalties if they allow the dispensaries to remain open.

“Drug traffickers cannot hide behind the law by simply claiming they are medical marijuana stores,” Ormsby said in a statement. “We are preparing for quick and direct action against the operators of the stores.”

The statement said there were more than 40 dispensaries in Spokane County, many of them “close to schools, parks and playgrounds where children are often present.”

Thomas Rice, an assistant U.S. attorney in the office, said he wouldn’t comment beyond the press release but said the office, and therefore the federal government, was serious in its threats.

Surisa Arispe, co-owner of Spokane Indicare, says she takes the threat seriously but thought its main goal was “just to scare us.”

The letter says property owners have 30 days “to ensure that your property is not being used to facilitate drug trafficking in violation of Federal law.” Within that time, legislators in Olympia might have finished hammering out a law explicitly allowing dispensaries to exist.

Article from The Pacific Northwest Islander


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  1. Oh wait, you mean the dispensaries are by schools? You mean schools full of kids on prescription drugs because their parents and doctors shove pills down their mouths at the first sign of any behavioral problems? This country is only free if the guys at the top are making money. If they don’t get their cut, it is deemed illegal and outlawed.

  2. It is important to realize exactly what is going on here. The Federal Government is taking advantage of Spokane’s Conservative tendencies. While the entire state has approved medical cannabis, the vague nature of the law allows for a broad interpretation. The individuals who were convicted in Spokane for operating a dispensary were not law-abiding citizens, rather, they were already convicted felons. The Feds are using the conviction of these less-than-scrupulous individuals as a foot in the door to stop medical cannabis in Washington State. Notice Ormsby is threatening Eastern Washington, but the Feds are silent regarding Western Washington. Make no mistake, if a precedent is set in Spokane regarding cannabis, it will carry over into the entire State. By giving the Feds an opportunity to prosecute dispensary owners in Spokane, Seattle’s dispensaries are threatened as well. This is nothing short of an attempt by the Federal Government to overturn medical cannabis in THE ENTIRE STATE OF WASHINGTON. Don’t sit by and do nothing; Email Gregoire, let her know how you feel about this infringement of our rights. If you are not already, register to vote, and become as active as your health allows. In this economy, with government programs being slashed to the bone, we have no funds for incarceration of people for providing a service to the community. If you value your freedoms, please, make a noise. If we let them, they will take it from us. If we stand and fight, we WILL win.

  3. Alice Weilep Schroeder on

    Chronic pain has been a constant companion for the better part of my life. Because of all the BS from the feds my Dr. is taking me off all my pain meds. Now they (feds) are taking the last thing that can help. WHAT DO THEY WANT FROM ME??? My life…. THEY HAVE IT. There is little quality, joy or peace because I am so miserable. I only hope that when it comes time for one of them, or a family member like their mother, or better yet their child, to need chronic pain management, that they get better care than what they are allowing me.

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