I remember a while ago I was talking with a grower who was inquiring about the DOJ letters that were going out to growers, dispensary/club owners, landlords, etc. He asked what I thought it all meant, and if the feds were bluffing. At the time, I didn’t feel like a big crackdown was really going to happen, simply because there were not enough resources to go after everyone. One would think that the feds would have better things to do with their ever dwindling operating dollars than to go after state approved programs. Also, the programs and industry is just so expansive anymore, that it seemed even more pointless.
However, as we all know now, my feelings were way off. The feds are implementing a very strategic plan that is kinda creepy how detailed it is. Rather than raid dispensary after dispensary, the feds first sent letters to the landlords. The dispensary owner can be willing to be defiant in the face of a federal threat, but a landlord that is already leery of the mmj industry getting a letter from the feds is a different story. As a result, some places closed shop early in the summer because the landlords simply weren’t having it, which is well within their legal rights, as United States Code pertains to almost any lease or rental agreement I’ve ever seen.
The ones that stayed open operated freely for awhile, but now not only are some of them getting picked off, also their growers are getting raided constantly. It seems like busts involving growers that are tied to dispensaries/clubs are becoming almost a daily thing on the West Coast. Of course, I live inside the fish bowl so maybe I just hear about it more, but I don’t remember all of this happening the last couple of falls. The feds are pricks too because they waited until the Fall harvest was here. People labored all summer, invested who knows how much for nutrients and all the fixin’s, just to have it hauled away by the narcs. More places will close since they aren’t getting the excess from the growers, and safe access will become far less prevalent.
So where do we go from here? One thing’s for sure, all of those patients that relied on gardens and centers that were raided are not going to quit consuming medicine. Some will get lucky and get medicine donated to them from a friend, but a vast majority of them are SOL. They are forced to turn to the black market and get who knows what from who knows where. Chances are they will be over priced, shorted, possibly robbed, and definitely consuming inferior product. All the while, organized crime benefits. The employees in the mmj industry that were helping people are out of jobs so that some cartel can fill the void with their crappy marijuana and increase their profits.
I’ve seen it first hand here in Oregon. I haven’t received calls in years from some people that used to always call to see if I knew a guy that could help them out. After all, networking used to be the only way to obtain stuff. But because they had their own garden, or went to a club/dispensary to get their medicine, or just joined a big garden collective, they quit calling. I’ve been getting calls from people I never thought I’d talk to again just because I only knew them in that capacity. However, either their garden was busted, or their membership is no longer valid at the local club because it’s gone, and now they are scrambling to find anyone that can help them out.
I’ve followed up with a handful of them to see how their consumer experience worked out for them, and all of them ended up getting crappy outdoor marijuana that was obviously grown on such a mass scale that it had no chance of ever being good. It cost way more than they were ever used to paying in the last couple years. Luckily I still know some reliable people that I was able to steer them too, but just the fact that it’s going on more and more is alarming, and eludes to what the future will hold if these raids continue. The more legal medical marijuana the feds take out of the hands of law abiding patients is the more they will turn to the black market, which is EXACTLY what cartels want. The feds are sending aid to Mexico to help fight the cartels that they are then helping by increasing their marijuana sales. It blows my mind how far their heads are up their asses, but then again, it’s politics and government, which obviously never makes sense.