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Marijuana dispensary near police office raided

September 18, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 04:  A medical marijuana...
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A man who operated a medical marijuana dispensary about 100 feet from a Washington State Patrol office could face drug charges if the Spokane County prosecutor’s office decides to maintain a strict approach to the state’s voter-approved marijuana law.

The Associated Press

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SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. —A man who operated a medical marijuana dispensary about 100 feet from a Washington State Patrol office could face drug charges if the Spokane County prosecutor’s office decides to maintain a strict approach to the state’s voter-approved marijuana law.

Paul E. Ellis, 52, was not arrested after sheriff’s deputies served warrants on his house and business earlier this month and seized 179 marijuana plants and fresh seeds, The Spokesman-Review reported.

That decision is being reviewed by county Deputy Prosecutor John Grasso, who has argued that anyone distributing medical marijuana to more than one patient is violating state law.

The raid on Ellis’ “Med Mar Dis,” a shop in a Spokane Valley strip mall, is similar to another where owners of a dispensary have been charged with felony distribution of a controlled substance.

Spokane-area police and prosecutors consider anyone distributing marijuana to more than one authorized patient to be violating Washington’s law, which allows for distribution to one person “at any one time.”

Dispensary operators argue the law allows them to distribute to as many people as they want, as long as the transactions are separate.

A telephone number for Ellis was not immediately available. The Spokesman-Review said he declined to comment when a reporter stopped by his home.

Sheriff’s detectives said Ellis was forthcoming when they approached him Aug. 9 at his dispensary. He showed them the marijuana, explained how he tracks his transactions with customers and invited them to his home to see his marijuana crop.

The search warrant says detectives counted 211 customers in his business records. Ellis told detectives he made about $200 to $500 per day selling marijuana and hoped to get a large warehouse to grow and sell marijuana.

He repeatedly invited the detectives to his home, where they counted about 220 marijuana plants. Officers raided the home and dispensary on Sept. 2.

The arrest warrant says Ellis asked State Patrol Sgt. Dave Bolton last spring if state labs could test his marijuana for possible contaminants. Bolton had been monitoring the shop and notified the sheriff’s office, but the newspaper reported that officials were waiting for the resolution of the charges brought against the two other dispensary owners. Their trial is to begin Sept. 27.

Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com

See original posting: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012903588_apwamarijuanadispensaryarrest1stldwritethru.html

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