Live Blog: DEA Raids of Medical Marijuana in Montana

March 14th, 2011 by John Masterson Leave a reply »

In this liveblogging post, Montana NORML is sharing rumors and reports as they come in, and confirming them as time allows.

As the rate of information flow was slowed considerably, we’ll stop updating this liveblog post as of Wednesday night, March 16th, 2011. For the latest Montana marijuana news, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or email.

6:00PM – Growing number of medical marijuana dispensaries, no regulation laws:

5:45PM – Rumor: 40 federal agents checked into the Hampton Inn in Missoula yesterday morning.

4:30PM – Statewide protests begin in 30 minutes.

11:18AM – CNN picks up the story:

5:20AM – “thousands of marijuana plants, computers, cell phones, patient lists and other related items were whisked away by federal agents in an unprecedented statewide crackdown”

5:11AM – Analysis: The Bureaucracies that marijuana feeds:

5:00AM – “If the federal government is changing their stance, I think it would be fair to let everybody know and give people a chance to bow out.”  –

Wednesday, 4:54AM “It felt like a serious armed robbery to me.” –

6:06PM – Some grisly details of the federal investigation, millions in cash allegedly deposited:

5:57PM – National Cannabis Industry Association weighs in:

5:55PM – Medical cannabis shop re-opens one day after raid:

5:31PM – Demand Progress launches an action alert on the Montana raids:

5:20PM – An analysis of why the federal government decided to conduct the medical marijuana raids in Montana:

5:07PM – Federal agents have seized $4 million in Montanans’ assets:

4:20PM – Justice Department released their press statement: MJ Press Release FINAL

2:22PM – Statewide raid protests announced:

12:16PM – Video: Former U.S. Attorney discusses Montana raids –

12:12PM – Bozeman newspaper reporter was asked to stop photographing federal agents at the scene of a raid yesterday:!/bozchron/status/47391170241888257

11:53AM – NBC affiliate wants to hear from patients affected by the raids:!/BeartoothNBC/status/47715155026526208

9:05AM – RUMOR: More federal warrants to be served today.

8:54AM – Owner of MCM predicted that federal officials seized between $50,000 and $100,000 worth of marijuana plants and equipment Monday.

8:07AM – Belgrade raid: “They put my dispenser up against the wall and put her in handcuffs — scared the crap out of her.”:

7:25AM – Pics posted from Helena greenhouse raided and cleaned out by federal agents:

2:49AM – Office of the United States Attorney General Public Comment Line – 202-353-1555

2:48AM – “Federal level police actions being timed to correspond with relevant state legislative votes. What’s the message behind that?”

Tuesday, 2:12AM – “Then at a very critical moment, suddenly the big brother heel of federal government comes down on growers and providers. … It certainly feels like a calculated attempt to influence Montana decision-making.” – Tom Daubert

11:59PM – ASA Director Steph Sherer weighs in on Montana’s federal raids.

10:52PM – What you can do about the federal raids in Montana:

10:04PM – NBC Montana publishes a search warrant for Bigsky Patient Care (large PDF):

9:48PM – Homeland Security took the lead in Flathead raids.

9:42PM – At least one raided caregiver had his home raided as well. Caregivers should assume/prepare for that.

8:29PM – Federal warrant sought “marijuana and hashish, drug paraphernalia, computers and other electronic storage devices, cell phones, firearms, transportation and customer records, transaction records, cash, jewelry and vehicle titles.”–Medical-Marijuana-Raids/

8:18PM – We’re told that Natural Medicine of Great Falls was also raided today.

6:06PM – Americans for Forfeiture Reform is covering the story and sharing valuable info on asset forfeiture:

5:58PM – We’re told that in some raids, federal agents took everything, including lights and ballasts and other equipment.

5:56PM – We’re told that DEA and FBI agents are still hanging around the Good Medicine dispensary in Columbia Falls, and have blocked anyone from pulling into the parking lot. Northern Lights, 4 Seasons, and CEG reportedly shut down.

5:51PM – The U.S. Attorney overseeing the raids is the Financial Litigation Unit Chief.

5:47PM -  We hear that Outlaw Hill Health in Livingston was also a victim of the raids.

5:08PM – $456,000 worth of marijuana confiscated from one location.

5:00PM – We received a phone call from criminal defense attorney Craig Shannon who offered this advice for everyone: You are not obligated to answer any questions. You are not obligated to let anyone in without a warrant. You are not obligated to consent to any search. Even innocent questions like “Are you a caregiver?” or “Are you a patient?” are parts of an investigatory strategy and can and will be used against you in court.  Once given, you cannot take back your answers. It might feel uncooperative to assert these rights, but it’s actually patriotic. Call your local lawyer to discuss.

4:37PM – We’ve been contacted by Americans for Forfeiture Reform. Victims of these raids should all contact them as well.

4:20PM – Across Montana, terror and rage evolves into disciplined and focused resolve.

3:47PM – Big Sky Patient Care and MCM in Bozeman raided, DEA news release to become available soon:

3:16PM – “They’re seizing everything – plants, marijuana, grow equipment, files and computers.” –

3:08PM – If you have been raided or arrested, FAX a copy of the warrant to ASA at: 510-251-2036

2:46PM – GF Tribune reports 8 people in handcuffs at Montana Cannabis in Helena.

2:40PM – Received a photo from the MT Cannabis raid in Missoula.

2:30PM – Received a report that Four Seasons Gardening and Northern Light Medical (Kalispell) have been raided by federal officials and served warrants for money laundering.

2:20PM – Received a report that Yellowstone Patient Care in Billings is being raided. And Montana Cannabis’ store in Missoula.

2:08PM – Good Medicine Providers in Columbia Falls raided.

1:57PM – ASA is collecting reports from anyone who has been raided: 510.251.1856 or toll-free 888.929.4367

1:49PM – Just got a call about a raid in the Bitterroot somewhere. Trying to get confirmation.

1:45PM – So far we are hearing rumors of the following being raided by DEA, ATF, and local law enforcement officials:

We will update this page as more info becomes available.



  1. Amber Albert says:

    Lest we forget, it is really hard to prosecute if you can’t find a jury,

  2. Anna says:

    Your article got me to wondering how much of this activity with the feds and the local law enforcement is linked to the possible loss of jobs? If they can prove a huge drug problem with all these hoodlums in the neighborhood then the everyday citizen would surely keep them employed in the coming economic crunch. After all, if the potheads ever can get off the couch they might be a danger.

    I just can’t imagine any of the people at the “wild pot parties of high school” (that I remember) doing much of anything! The first time I was invited to a party of my piers, I was so excited! Only to be greatly disappointed. I was expecting a party that was more fun than the parties that my parent gave. Oh how wrong. I walked in expecting action! You know, music…dancing…drugs (I was not sure what that was then), and alcohol. What I found, which I later learned was normal for marijuana, was a group of kids on the couch watching TV with no sound and listening to some records (does that date me or what). No food, no dance music, and since I had never smoked, a very nasty experience with that. I did go to a couple more nonevents and felt it was a waste of my time – even in jr.high it was a waste of my time. It was only cool because it was illegal. Just thinking back to those times, the kids involved were the most mellow of the class, not the most exciting.

    That brings me back to the police action of yesterday…. If I was going to try to save my job, I would want my employer to appreciate how big a job I had to do and how dangerous (gas masks) it is. I would testify to that in my best clothes (uniform) to give the maximum impression. Then, if I do manage to keep my job, I would want the most mellow (pot head), the least dangerous (medical patients), and easiest to catch (legally registered) criminal available to put in jail. For my money… oh yeah, I get to pay for all that action! Again for my money, put some controls on the “substance”, make it legal and tax it. Nationally…it could help with the debt and keep the teachers employed, because if you have to cut jobs you just might be choosing between teachers and police.

    I have never heard of anyone ingesting so much cannibus that they died. I have heard of, and knew, people dying from Rx drugs, heroin, cocaine, meth, alchoal etc. I have never heard of anyone getting high on cannibus and going out to commit crimes because they were high as shown in the exaulted Marijuana Rage movie. We all know how accurate the movies are. I do know that the hemp industry (commercial hemp) did threaten paper production (from trees). I also know that marijuana, when it was legal in my grandparents time, was mostly used by hispanics and blacks. One of the leading arguments of the time was that “smoking pot would make a black man bold enough to approach a white woman!” There is all sorts of information about the madicinal aspects as well.

    I am still leaning towards this being an attempt to impress us (non useres) with the nead to keep these drug addicts off the street and out of business.

  3. Vaporgirl says:

    I was just told by Rehberg’s that the DEA raiding Montana is an issue for the Democrats not the Republcians. I was told by Tester’s office that he wants more state control.

  4. Rev. Phoenix says:

    Does anyone know where and when there will be a protest in Billings? We cannot stand by and let these Gestapo-like raids continue.

  5. don says:

    i called all three, baucus, rehberg and tester. no statements yet from any. tester’s office said it wasn’t the first call they’d received. keep calling folks!!!!!!

  6. tracey says:

    Federal prohibition is so wrong, and blaming the administration’s decision to resume raiding legal medical facilities that are harming no one on California’s attempt to legalize and tax, is a weak cop-out. There is no good excuse for the terrorizing and ruining of entire families and lives they are purposely causing, not to mention the added suffering of patients who will no longer have access to safe medicine. It means a lot to be able to buy it from clean, secure, well-managed places that test their products for mold, bugs, and so on, and know what chemicals have touched them during growth and know what the genetics are. We need to change Federal laws not only to lift prohibition, freeing these “lawmen” from the mistaken belief that they have to hurt innocent people and steal from them and hurt sick people just because some assholes above them prefer to drink poison and smoke poison and tell people who care more about their and others’ health that they can’t use EFFECTIVE medicine (for chronic pain, tremors, anxiety, chronic insomnia, IBS, and more) because THEY don’t think we should, even though we are hurting NO ONE, and actually have found we can be MUCH better, nicer, more focused, more efficient, more social, way less grumpy and exhausted, and therefore more capable of contributing to society using this medicine. Oh, not to mention that the drugs they give you for these conditions when they are severe are so toxic they were killing me (killing my liver). MMJ replaced a number of highly toxic medicines and completely reversed the problem in my liver that those bad pharmaceuticals had caused. I suppose some of us just need this (I believe we all do–we have the receptor for it, all humans have used it for tons of medicinal reasons for thousands of years, but prohibitionists just don’t know it, they’re secure in their alcoholic fog of idiocy). Sorry, rambling. Just mad. Obama deserves to be impeached for allowing these raids. Not a man of his word. And I’m not a Republican.

  7. tracey says:

    Maybe the people who are still supporting this old and wrong-from-the-beginning-because-it-was-racist-and-designed-to-keep-the-average-man-from-making-money-when-the-ultra-rich-could-snatch-it-all-up (i.e., on the new technology–autos- that was originally designed to use hemp, but the moneybags of the time pressured Ford into changing from hemp oil for fuel and hemp for the autobody into fossil fuel and steel –which, if you remember they had a monopoly on). Are just simply afraid because they still believe the lies they were sold about it and have only very limited knowledge from their personal encounters with either trying it and not knowing that what it does to you when you are not used to it is NOT what it does to you when you are using it regularly for medicinal reasons. Once you are using it for pain and seizures and serious brain-problem-related lack of sleep, it doesn’t get you “high”; it just kills your pain and gives you just enough energy to make it through the next few hours. So it’s not like people are wandering around “high” on this stuff. Those of us who need it for MEDICINE are as normal (on it) as other people who are not sick off it. Actually, I think we’re alot nicer and calmer and cooperative.

  8. tracey says:

    I just realized in my previous post I’d started one of my way-too-long sentences with

    We need to change Federal laws not only to lift prohibition, freeing these “lawmen” from the mistaken belief …

    And I never finished that.

    The second and VERY VERY important part all in this nation have to remember is that thousands of people are sitting in Federal prisons simply for having a joint in their hand. If we are decent human beings at ANY level in this country, we NEED to rescue these people. Every human being locked up for a NON-violent drug-related crime should be released immediately. We actually owe them their lives back and can’t ever pay them what has been ripped from them because of barbaric laws that should have been repealed the second they were passed.

    When we as a loving and educated people join together in action to lift the prohibition, we MUST insist that all these incarcerated innocents be freed as well. They should also get first choice in any works program the Feds resort to to rebuild our decaying infrastructure or transform the nation into a solar/hydro/wind farm or whatever will get us into the next century. Maybe they could be set up in little organic cannabis farms! Now THAT would be something to be very proud of as a nation IMHO.

    Love and Peace out my loving Peace officers :)

    AND My prayer until prohibition is lifted by our courts or congress (both of which take way too long to do anything) is that the good and decent officers still employed and being asked to enforce prohibition be the front line in our citizens’ fight for what is right: I’m asking them to educate themselves about cannabis, have an open mind and heart, and stand on their principles when asked to do what they know is wrong on so many levels; I’m asking them to simply refuse to act. Don’t participate in the raid. Don’t arrest or ticket the kid on the corner with a joint (He’s not stealing or raping or driving and weaving right? I DO believe in going after anyone actually committing crimes that have victims, and pot use doesn’t excuse anyone–but I’ve known more pot-less criminals than pot-head criminals; I swear, pot makes you love people more).

  9. Amanda says:

    Dispensaries NEED to stay open! Show the Feds we are going to stand up for our STATE right to govern our law. Closing doors sends the message that they are going to win. DON’T LET THEM! And fyi, they can raid your store or home even if you are not there. If they really want to bust you, they will. You can not hide and you should’nt try to.

  10. Joe says:

    I can not believe the hipocracy of these representatives!!! when it comes to shooting wolves, or health care, or gun laws or anything else the mantra is “Leave us alone Federal Government” but now when it is the DEA, ATFE, and HLS it is “Praise the Feds”!?!?!? you cant have it both ways. If you want to take care of things in house that means ALL things. You invite these bullies in to terrorize and harrass honest business men and ignore the street pusher and think this will have no negative consequences? Then you open say that you “don’t care what you base thinks” and “a finger at the citizens” and think this will be tolerated?!?!?!? These citizens put you in office and the citizens will take oyu out of it. YOU are the one that is going to have a finger in your face. I don’t smoke pot and I don’t have my card. I only know about this blog because someone sent me a link to it but I will be damned if I will sit back quietly while federal bullies push Montanas around and I’ll be damned if I am going to tolerate being told how to act by people I put into office!!!

  11. 4cornersGrower says:

    state law enforcement should have not been assisting the FEDS. the sheriff is here to uphold MONTANA LAWS. The State secretary has licensed these providers, and stores to do buisness here in MONTANA.

  12. Amanda says:

    There is vigil at the City Hall, billings mt Wednesday March 16th at dusk. Bring candles and modest signs telling the feds to back off.

  13. The warrants have to do with financial crimes, apparently. The prosecutor is a money laundering prosecutor guy. Money laundering and tax evasion would be my guess. Why do they want car titles? To see how they were purchased, and if the money was declared as income. There can be huge montey violations of federal law without violating Obama’s pledge or Montana State law.

  14. russ says:

    Wat about the patient records? Can we expect anything at our homes?

  15. JD Junior says:

    Kristin is looking to interview patients and caregivers (well dressed, well spoken) on camera in Helena ASAP.

    Call Kristin Price at BNBC 457-2722

  16. Mike R says:

    This is an act of civil war. Voters have done their legal duty. Laws have been legally enacted. The response from the Federal Government is an armed and violent one. What are we going to do now?

  17. JD Junior says:

    “Yes, if your shop was raided, expect your home to be raided.”

    Boy, how can one expect something like that? If you destroy your medicine, you’re destroying evidence. If you don’t, you’re possessing an illegal drug. They’ll take computers, cash, firearms, anything valuable, and it’s all legal thanks to RICO.

  18. Sciatica Relief says:

    I just spoke with Kristin @ Beartooth news NBC aff.
    She is looking for comments from card holders,as to how this raid has effected them.Please make a call to her, media help is needed. Kirstin 406-457-2722

  19. Poll says:

    Great Falls Tribune Capital Bureau Chief John Adams has a poll up on his Tribune blog on the raids. Please vote.

  20. cam says:

    So why are the state officials that made medical marijuana legal, aiding the federal government? So we now have to live in fear of incarceration and or search and seizure. The public voted for this to be legal so the state of Montana should be defending the rights of Montanan’s.

  21. Josh Saksa says:

    Hey all just to let you know, this is nothing new! Fedral agents will keep raping america fro control….lets put our dukes up and voice our opinion….please everyone lets rock this out together, I am going to be making my case as much as possible as to the fact the state is trying to charge me with tampered evidence that has been destroyed to cover up thier asses….and the smae will happen to these people they are not facing charges now but give it two weeks….and all the evidence oh ya itll be gone and just cops word…
    A Perfect Cure

  22. Josh Saksa says:

    again for too long have we been told we are wrong, officers in the state of montana have spent way to much time on us and not enough time on street crimes. Seems that ever since medical marijuana became an issue so many officers have gone blind to the rest of montana now other crimes, violence, drunk driving, and theft have gone up three fold…..i dont know why we continue to pay them if they are not going to do thier jobs, and then when we question what they are doing and put thier jobs at risk they send in the big brother to settle the battle they couldnt win…..that my friends is childish and a sign ofg poor sportsmanship

  23. Renee R. Rucker says:

    These raids are a travesty. If these people are following the Montana medical marijuana laws, then our law enforcement should protect them from Federal prosecution.And even if they are not following the laws, the raids and arrests should be handled by Montana law enforcement. The Feds should not be involved at all since this is a state law.
    Also what are the patients supposed to do now that the feds have destoyed their medicine?Suffer? That is just cruel and inhumane. The plants from these raided places should be given back to the patients they belong to if they want them, not be destroyed.The patients should not have to suffer more than they already do just because of a political pissing match over medical marijuana.
    These patients should check into a class action civil suit against the Feds for interfereing with their medical care and causing undo suffering.
    As for the repeal, the lawmakers should have no right to even attempt it. This law was voted in by the people and if they want a repeal it needs to be sent back to the people for vote.
    Renee R.Rucker
    Medical Marijuana Patients Advocate

  24. antoinette says:

    i am glad it is out there for those who need it but to many sell and abuse it the stores are everywhere its crazy to many are using glad we dont live there near the canyon critters i want my girls out of there and here in a state where people have an education.

  25. Bruce Johns says:

    I know I”m preaching to the choir here but, what if a cancer patient dies because he/she can’t eat without their medicine? What if a seizure patient can’t relieve his/her symptoms? Who’s hands are going to be bloody? If our own elected officials had anything to do with this, this is going to get ugly. It’s been a long time since statistics class in college but the probability of this happening exactly at the time the pro-repeal legislatures knew they were going to lose on HB161 cannot be coincidence.

  26. josh saksa says:


  27. josh saksa says:

    even if many of us are gone after this is over, many will still live on, freedom to the patients that desrve what they fought for, as for the many that fall….they are the ones we are proud of….they fought for true america, not fake wars, fake justice, and fake reasons, they are fighting for peoples rights, needs, and desires, all of which benefit a whole not just a government

  28. A Legit Grower says:

    It is important for people to understand that at least in the case of Bozeman, these were not caregivers that were busted. They were a few of the businesses operating fully illegally. They were both a joke as far as any state law was concerned and hurt the industry in whole. They took advantage of a lack of enforcement, made money hand over fist for long enough and have now had their hands slightly slapped. MCM is not a legitimate MEDICAL provider. It stands for Montana Cannabis MINISTRY not MEDICAL. They were a branch of the the place in Hawaii that already had trouble with the feds. It was a mockery of what many of us take seriously and have spent time and money creating and protecting. Big Sky Patient Care was also NOT A CAREGIVER. They were operating as a collective and use a model that works in California but had no grounds to be operating under Montana Law. They simply were an intermediary using growers, (some with little to no patients) to provide product to them that they then turned around and sold to other growers patients. They were federally illegal, but more importantly they were state illegal.

    I disagree with our federal stance on marijuana, and agree that the law here lacks any semblance of reality. But while some of us have stayed clear of the “gray areas” which aren’t as gray as some would like you to believe, these ones have blatantly tried to exploit the situation. Personally as someone that is spending considerable time and money making sure that this can be a long lasting legitimate industry in our state, I am happy to see some of the offenders go. Once we have people respecting the current laws, it will be easier for making the case in Helena that we can be a responsible industry.

  29. Colt.Montana says:

    U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter,announced today the culmination of a 18-month multi-agency investigation into the drug trafficking activities of criminal enterprises operating throughout the State of Montana.

    Here is a link to the official document, issued the the Department of Justice:

  30. Ten says:

  31. Karisma says:

    I followed this blog’s posts throughout yesterday and today, and refrained from making statements until a little more was known about the raids. If these businesses that were raided are found to actually be breaking laws, then good riddance! We are fighting for the right to treat medical problems with medical marijuana because many of us have run into one dead-end after another utilizing pharmaceutical preparations. When someone blatantly disregards the laws (state or federal) in this matter, those of us who voted for medical marijuana, and continue to fight for it, need to be upset by that! What they are doing is getting rich off the problems of sick people, while risking the ill people’s treatment in the process! That makes me furious! So if they were breaking the laws, THROW THE BOOK AT THEM!

    On the flip side, it absolutely disgusts me to see a state representative on this forum trying to throw it in our face about the raids! Mr. Knox, YOU are a disgrace! And then you want to bring up the fact that you know what pain is because you have gout? REALLY???? OMG! That right there shows me, and probably a lot of others in this forum, just how out of touch you really are! Yes, gout is painful, but compared to cancer, Crohn’s, Multiple Sclerosis, HIV, etc???? I think it is ridiculous to even mention gout in this debate! Unless you are willing to make all Rx medications for your gout illegal as well, then by all means let’s talk about your gout! Ridding yourself of YOUR medication for YOUR ailment might just be the brick wall that needs to hit you in the face, Mr. Knox!

    As long as you bring gout up, I just thought I would inform you that some of the factors that increase a person’s risk for gout are obesity, drinking large amounts of alcohol/beer, and inattention to one’s dietary restrictions in relation to their gout diagnosis. Some might choose to join a gym, avoid alcohol, and quit eating so high on the hog! But there will always be those who will not be happy doing the actual WORK involved in making themselves healthy… ’cause that’s hard! They expect that countless hours and billions of dollars be spent in labs designing drugs, because by God, SOMEONE ought to be able to get rich off of the pain and suffering of others! They want that costly, quick-fix in the form of a pill for them to pop. Heaven forbid the answer to your painful gout (and the pain of SO many others who suffer their own medical issues) might actually be a plant put on this earth by the God you claim to love!

    I find it curious that individuals who have been diagnosed with gout have actually been treated with medical marijuana with great success! A person has the right to refuse any medication suggested for the treatment of what ails them, however I question the intelligence and motivation of someone who would choose to try to prohibit the use of medical marijuana by everyone, regardless of the conditions being treated, and choose to treat their own ailment with drugs that have so many horrific side effects! What if WE all took away YOUR medicine? And then, what if we all took joy PUBLICLY flaunting the raid of the pharmacies that provide you with your medicine? You are NOT a nice man. I pray your children are never stricken with cancer, having YOU as their only advocate…. As a mom, I would do anything to help my child win a battle with a disease where the odds are so strongly stacked against them from the beginning.

  32. Sciatica Relief says:

    Sounds like the investigation into illegal activities by this goup has been going on a long time,according to the U.S Attorney’s office.Also it was stated that the warrants had until March 24 to serve.
    My question is WHO was the person that desided WHEN to serve those warrants?…anyone know??

  33. M says:

    Well said, Karisma! Well said!!!

  34. JustinMontana says:

    From my friend Tim. Pass this on long and far! Give Tim Credit please.
    The Bureaucracies That Marijuana Feeds

    Tue, Mar 15, 2011

    Federal Gov. Tyranny

    by Attorney Timothy Baldwin
    approx. 1,135 words

    For almost 100 years in the United States, countless resources have been spent feeding—oops—I mean, “fighting” the “war on drugs”, specifically marijuana. Before that time, marijuana was largely acceptable and viewed as inherently valuable throughout the world. Today, medical science seems to support its use for certain purposes—not to mention whatever social uses for which some may advocate its use. However, since 1937, Congress has deemed that marijuana has absolutely no medical benefit and purpose and made anyone who possesses it subject to extreme criminal penalty. The history behind Congress’ enactment is quite suspect, and the “war on marijuana” deserves objective attention.

    Despite Congress’ labeling marijuana as a dangerous drug without any medical use and with a high potential for abuse, fifteen states in the union (the last I looked) have declared otherwise. So, what insistent force keeps Congress from removing marijuana from CSA’s Schedule 1? Answered by historical comparison, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s reference in 1960 to the military-industrial complex should have included the marijuana-bureaucracy complex created by this “war on marijuana”. As a limited point of illustration, consider the mass raids which took place on March 14, 2011 throughout Montana by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies—spearheaded of course by federal agencies, with the state and local agencies acting as tagalongs.

    On March 15, 2011, the United States Department of Justice (USDJ) released a written press statement regarding the numerous and simultaneous raids which took place in the great state of Montana—one of the several states which has declared by law that marijuana in fact has medical value and is lawful to use as such. In this statement, the USDJ listed the number of law enforcement agencies involved in the raids. The following is an excerpt from that public statement, indicating at least how many agencies where involved:

    “[T]he Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency-Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection-Border Patrol, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These federal agencies were assisted by the Montana Division of Criminal Investigations, and local High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task forces, the Northwest Drug Task Force, the Kalispell Police Department, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, the Missoula Police Department, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, the Missoula High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Great Falls Police Department, the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, the Central Montana Drug Task Force, the Billings Police Department, the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office, the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Dillon Police Department, the Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office, the Park County Sheriff’s Office, the Bozeman Police Department, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, the Missouri River Drug Task Force, the Helena Police Department, the Lewis & Clark Sheriff’s Office, and the Eastern Montana Drug Task Force – Miles City” (U.S. Department of Justice, Michael W. Cotter, United States Attorney, District of Montana, News Advisory, March 15, 2011).

    Did you get all that?! It would take some people shorter time to read a chapter in the Bible than it would to read this list of agencies supposedly pursuing “criminal enterprises that have violated the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) related to marijuana.” Ibid.

    So, how many government agents were involved within those departments who were paid in that pursuance? How many government staff members or private contractors were involved to assist those investigations? How many high-dollar pieces of equipment and surveillance were paid for and used in those investigations? How many clerks will be needed to keep the public record files? How many pieces of paper will be printed? How many prosecutors will be paid to prosecute and judges paid to adjudicate these man-made crimes? How many public defenders will be needed to defend them? How many jail personnel are employed to make sure these “criminals” reside in jail? How many food dispensaries are paid to deliver food to these same inmates? How many fees and fines are collected from the defendants and paid to the various governments as mandated by statute? How many drug rehabilitation programs are funded by tax dollars to “treat” these “drug addicts”? How many lobbyists are paid to use such statistics to show why more taxes are needed to sustain these criminal-pursuing operations? How many tax dollars were and will be used to pay for every person and everything involved, directly or indirectly, in this “war”? The numbers would undoubtedly rise into the billions. Can anyone say job security or economic stimulation?

    Drawing from my own personal experience, I see the absurdity of the “war on marijuana”. During my time as a prosecutor at the Florida State Attorney’s Office from 2004 to 2006 where I handled literally thousands of criminal cases and tried nearly 60 jury trials, I was never impressed that marijuana was the cause of any criminal activity. Oh sure, possession of marijuana charges comprised a large number of my criminal cases; but the criminal act was merely the man-made law of possession of marijuana. In fact, most criminal activities were in large part caused by alcohol, where one who consumed too much alcohol became violent; beat his wife; neglected his children; drove drunk and hurt someone; caused a disturbance of the peace; or other similar evils. I saw those alcohol-related cases every day. Yet, I cannot say the same regarding marijuana. I would estimate that of the thousands of cases I handled, at least half (if not more) were a direct cause of alcohol consumption or addiction. Yet, alcohol is legal and marijuana is illegal.

    In truth, about the only reason anyone can advocate for not treating alcohol in the same legal manner as marijuana is that “alcohol is too much ingrained into societal norms.” Try to convince an inquiring child on that logic: it will not stand. This logic of course is even more disturbing considering the harsh penalties carried with marijuana laws where lives are destroyed by government action. Perhaps too many politicians love their alcohol too much to make it a target of reprisal.

    Still, there must be a target to perpetuate the bureaucracy and marijuana appears to be that target. Even more disturbing in the scenario is that the States cater to the federal government’s manipulation on the matter, making any and all activities relating to marijuana illegal. To suppress that “evil of marijuana”, varieties of government create pyramids of law enforcement agencies for the large purpose of arresting persons acting in relation to marijuana, and the ball of revenue generation rolls through the course of government and social programs. But how else will government power, size and control increase unless it has a “war” to wage?

  35. Stater says:

    The grisly details seem to come down to……..they violated federal law. I hope everyone is seeing how ridiculous this really is. The statement released by the U.S. Attorney appeals to all of our notions that they committed serious crimes, yet they supply us only with 1.) Someone had money in banks. 2.) Someone threw away marijuana in the trash. 3.) Someone sold a quarter oz to an undercover agent several times (with no mention of whether or not the agent had a patient card) 4.) Two caregivers sold marijuana to each other. So far it appears as if this could have been any medical marijuana facility in the state. After 18 months this is all they have? No arrests, no charges, and no interstate trafficking. Something smells really bad here, and its not the weed.

  36. js says:

    They know they r messing with a bunch of stonies that sit in our house and mostly dont bother anyone. TIME to bother folks. we simply MUST not let them do this to our caregivers. 4 million dollar payday for the FEDS monday. Federal government is BROKE. hello….???
    Rally at Carras park 12 noon, this SATURDAY !!! bring signs, bring friends!!! time to let them know we will NOT tolerate thier interference in OUR GOD GIVEN RIGHT to have the medicine that helps us vs thier man made profit motivated drugs.

  37. vaporgirl says:

    I just got a positive response from Dave Wanzenried to my email about voting No on repeal. He says that he is very alarmed and shocked by DEA behavior and is looking into this action. He says he will continue to vote NO on repeal and YES to fixing what is wrong with the state law as it now stands. I wrote a very polite message from the patient’s perspective.

  38. Gophernator says:

    Rep Knox’s comment was posted at 1:45pm, and the first timestamp for the blog post is 1:45pm…. is someone just trying to incite spirited discussion?

    • No, whoever posted as Rep Knox (who may indeed have been THE Rep. Knox), posted immediately upon my publishing the post, and his/her/its subsequent posts came from the same IP address.

  39. A different 4 corners grower... says:

    I would just like to point out to anyone reading this thread that post by “A legit grower” is wrought with incorrect information based on feelings not evidence. I can not speak for the actions of MCM, but I know that Big Sky Patient Care only sold medicine to the hundreds of patients that they had signed themselves, and NOT to other caregivers patients. It greatly saddens me to see other caregivers so ready to throw those who just took the brunt force of the drug war under the bus. This is a time in which we need to stand together against the federal government, who sees it fit to throw out the 10th amendment and protect the rights of the industry as a whole. I refuse to sit here and listen to the competition of the business who were just raided claim that those businesses raided were illegal while their own business are not. We all grow, and distribute medical marijuana and that is the issue.

  40. vaporgirl says:

    My toes are cold ! Just got in from the Bozeman demo. About 45 people including some local legal eagles to show support. Good honking support from people on their way home. But no press. We need to get the press out for Friday.

  41. vaporgirl says:

    O yes and I want to say, as a child of the 60s, I was proud to stand with like minded people this evening. Cannabis maybe the ONLY issue that can forge a discourse between left and right !

  42. Hmd says:

    Thank you everyone who came down to the county courthouse in Bozeman today, 50+ people, that was awesome. Just reminding that we will be there tomorrow 4:20-6:20. And on Friday we will start at 4:20 and at 5:00 we will begin our march down main. Hope to see you there, thanks for all the support shown in the past few days.

  43. Ten says:

    I was also at the Bozeman demo today! Channel six news came by and video-taped for a bit. Only got two fingers, and a hell of a lot more support. There is a march down main scheduled for friday at five – meet same place. :-)

  44. CAT says:

    LISTEN UP! MONEY TALKS AND B.S. WALKS! TheVOTERS, voted for medical marijuana and our ELECTED officals did not do there job for the people! I guess the VOTERS have to do it for them! Til we the VOTERS can vote these incompetent people out of there, we can make our point clear by not only calling your ELECTED officials, you can also contact your local and state governments to find out how you go about protesting your taxes. The farmers did it and their wishes were met. Its legal (if done properly) and it ties that money up, til a plan can be agreed upon. If this is how MY tax dollars are going to be spent, then rest assure MY money needs to go back to the VOTERS! People don’t let this take away YOUR RIGHT to free speech and freedom of press. REMEMBER, It is YOUR dollars that should be working for YOU. THE VOTER! Assemble, all those who VOTED FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA! UNITE as a group, and lets draw up a workable solution and submit it to the ELECTED officals who are willing to work for the VOTERS! The VOTERS have already spoken many years ago. Its time, that WE, the VOTERS show those ELECTED OFFICALS, that they work for us! Be assured, you will be heard, when talking money!

  45. roger dowty says:

    My mug and story was recently in the Missoulian and, i’m sure, created a stir of sorts.

    I was quoted in the Missoulian as being ‘happy’ about the raids. That may cause some issues with some and let me explain. I support medical cannabis and have always had strong opinion about the need for strict controls in the production and distribution of ‘medical grade’ cannabis. Its the only way the system will gain community support and the only way that we can prove that the community is mature enough to, some day, handle legalization, taxation, quality control etc. Right or wrong its reality. Frontal attacks for legalization have all failed and will continue to fail as long as folks are afraid and caregivers provide reason for fear. We have the opportunity to create an environment of trust and secure ongoing medical research. A point that most dont understand is that the current law is exclusionary as written. You have to be clearly within the statute to avoid prosecution. Attorneys have a vested interest in feeding the system with arrests as thats how they eat. That, in my opinion, is how people got the idea that the law ‘included’ gray areas in which to operate…stretching the law to include importing and using off the grid growers etc. The law was not enforced for two reasons 1. politics and citizen outrage whenever an arrest happens no matter how well deserved. 2. politics…let it get out of control and then cry foul. They knew that people would push the law into outright criminal behavior and that they could get rid of it when the populace got sick and tired. County attorneys like my buddy Fred have used this political force to move towards repeal rather than fix it. The industry has done this to itself by not respecting the term “medical” which carries an expectation of professionalism, research and legitimacy. Two quick points to add. The comment about one 10mg capsule being equivalent to 3 joints was a miscommunication and obviously a farce. I was asked to try to give an equivalency to smoking which has a plethora of variables but a 20-25mg dose is roughly equivalent to smoking 2-3 ave joints over a period of 6-9 hours. I’d stand by that statement as a generalization. Also submitted emails from the county attorney to the Missoulian as evidence of the threat i received and our shutting down. His denial is upsetting.

    roger dowty

  46. vaporgirl says:


    I have no idea where you get your since of dosage. Can you please provide some scientific references? The latest medical research on cannabis that I have seen only uses vaporization as an intake method, anything eaten is highly variable from individual to individual and smoking is a total nono for any health conscious person. No one who is using cannabis for medical purposes should be combusting the plant. Not only are carcinogens released at high temps but some of the so called “high” is from inhaling butane. As for as controlling production and quality–well just turn it over to big pharm and watch the price drop to 80$/oz and everyone in this state will be out of business. Cannabis is a very harmless plant and, like many other herbal medications used worldwide, it is just as good grown at home as in the high-tech Dutch facilities.
    Folks using cannabis learn to dose themselves pretty well and beside with down regulation of the receptors about every 4hr it is a waste to vap anymore often. The only reason for this big raid was a political statement. Keep the weed from the greed and protect the rights of patient growers.

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