OLYMPIA, WA — Federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency raided four medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington on Wednesday, where voters have approved both the medical use of marijuana by authorized patients, as well as the recreational use of marijuana by adults 21 or older.
The raids appear to have been the result of a two year investigation by the DEA, and a continuation of a paramilitary crackdown on medical cannabis providers that began in 2011.
But what was the cost to taxpayers, who are unknowingly financing a federal government crackdown that defies the will of voters?
Wednesday’s raid on the four dispensaries in Washington may have cost an upwards of $12.3 million, according to analysts from Americans for Safe Access, a national patient rights organization.
According to data from ASA’s What’s the Cost? report, the two year investigation and Wednesday’s raids may have cost taxpayers $12,327,732 — and that doesn’t include the cost to prosecute dispensary operators in court, or house them in federal correctional institutions for upwards of ten years or more.
While the raids themselves cost just over $300,000, the lengthy investigations leading up to the raids cost taxpayers a staggering $12,014,334 according to ASA’s calculations.
Since 2011, several federal agencies, including the DEA and IRS, have conducted hundreds of paramilitary style raids on medical marijuana providers in states that have passed medical marijuana laws.
An ever increasing number of states are choosing to allow medical marijuana, including New Hampshire, which became the 19th medical marijuana state Tuesday, and Illinois, which is poised to become the 20th in early August. Our nation’s capital, Washington DC, also allows medical marijuana, and Maryland this year passed a law allowing a medical marijuana research program, making 22 jurisdictions in the US tolerant, in some degree, towards medical marijuana.
But despite almost half of the country allowing medical marijuana in some degree, the federal government continues to go to great lengths to claim supremacy of federal drug trafficking laws, wasting precious resources in a senseless — and expensive — crusade against medical marijuana.
While efforts have been made in Congress to introduce bills, such as the “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,” would modify the federal Controlled Substances Act so that anyone acting in compliance with a state marijuana law would be immune from federal prosecution, the bills have failed to advance or gain the attention of national media.
Meanwhile, the cost of the federal government’s crusade against medical marijuana will only continue to rise.
Wednesday’s DEA Medical Marijuana Raids May Have Cost Taxpayers $12.3 Million was written by Scott Gacek and appears in full on The Daily Chronic. ©2013
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