Several dozen protestors took to the streets Friday afternoon, upset about this week’s DEA searches of medical marijuana dispensaries.
Medical marijuana patients, dispensary owners and concerned citizens gathered outside Union Station Friday to show their support for the dispensaries that had been searched, and their distate for the federal laws that they say are so ambiguous that they’re impossible to abide by.
“It seems like nothing is good enough,” said James Lucas, operator of Tacoma Cross – one of the dispensaries that was searched this week.
He says he didn’t understand what was happening when he saw DEA agents arrive Tuesday. The DEA confiscated all of Tacoma Cross’ marijuana and detained employees and customers, said Lucas.
According to Lucas, the DEA agents present Tuesday told him they agree that there are confusing aspects of the current medical marijuana laws.
“It’s just too bad that right now the federal law is so different from the state law,” said Lucas, who added. “We have never been cited for stepping outside of the current state laws.”
He says he needs a safe, legal way to get his patients the medicine they need.
Differences between federal, state and local medical marijuana laws have made enforcement difficult. Multiple sources have confirmed that the Tacoma Police Department is has been keeping marijuana offenses at arms’ length until disparities between laws are addressed.
Meanwhile, the medical marijuana business has been booming in Tacoma. For more than a year, the city has refrained from shutting down dispensaries until clearer direction for regulation comes from the state.
Lucas was joined Friday by at least 30 other protestors, who earned honks and cheers from passing cars as they chanted “DEA go away.”
Tacoma Cross patient Ron James held a sign Friday asking “Why get it from the creep on the street?”
James says he’s had multiple knee surgeries and has been prescriped Percocet, morphine and other prescription drugs to manage his pain, but prefers medical marijuana because it keeps his head clear.
“I can’t focus on drugs,” says James.
Linda Schultz had a similar story. She says she’s had 10 surgeries and has been prescribed strong prescription drugs that she doesn’t want to take.
Schultz says she’s always been careful with prescription pain killers, choosing to use marijuana instead, and has been able to avoid dependency – unlike many people she knows.
“We’ve got to change the federal laws,” Schultz said Friday. “And we don’t know how to do that but make noise.”