Bellingham Police extinguish medical marijuana co-ops

By Samantha Wohlfeil

Bellingham Police have shut down Northern Cross, KGB and The Joint – three medical marijuana cooperatives in Bellingham. Thursday, March 15, the police served search warrants on suspicion that there was illegal distribution and manufacture of marijuana at all three locations, according to a Bellingham Police press release.

Five people were arrested and booked into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of possession of marijuana with intent to sell.

Police also served warrants at two locations in Skagit County.

So what did they find, and why were they shut down?

Each co-op had way more marijuana on hand than allowed by the Revised Code of Washington. Under the law, each co-op can only have up to 4.5 pounds of usable marijuana on hand at any given time and no more than 15 plants per patient up to 45 plants.

According to a press release, cops found 15 pounds of usable marijuana at Northern Cross, 11 pounds at KGB, and over 7 pounds of marijuana at The Joint.

At the two Skagit County operations, police seized more than 300 marijuana plants and a handful of weapons, including a semi-automatic assault rifle.

By law, cooperatives or collective gardens can only have 10 members. According to the press release, Northern Cross employees told police that they have over 3,000 members.

Each cooperative had its business registration revoked by the city in December. After the marijuana dispensaries continued to operate, police issued a warning (on March 9) to cease operations and the co-ops didn’t comply, according to a Bellingham Police press release.

Read the specific state law about collective gardens here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=69.51A&full=true#69.51A.085

  • http://twitter.com/mitchmoquin mitchmoquin

    “Each Co-Op had way more marijuana on hand than allowed by the revised code of washington”.  

    This is an incorrect statement by Samantha Wolfheil author of this article.  There were over 10 volunteers at Northern Cross Collective at the time of the raid.  Each volunteer maintaing their legal weight of 1.5 pounds times the count of volunteers equals out to the said weight discovered by law enforcement…

  • Anonymous

    What was “seized” (actually stolen) was a completely legal gun collection owned by a 61 year old legal medical cannabis patient who was not involved with the operation of any of the three collectives that were raided.  He was not arrested or charged.  He was merely robbed by people with badges.  You failed to mention that they also stole money from him and cut down the legal plants he had growing there, along with his growing equipment.

    This man lived on several acres out in the country.  Just try finding any senior citizen living out in the country that doesn’t have at least one firearm.  Are you implying that anyone who has legal firearms should be considered a criminal?

    Revoking a legal business license is legally questionable, but it’s an “administrative” action, not punishable by criminal penalties.  Their lawyer was headed into court to fight this administrative action with a restraining order when the Bellingham police decided to raid them before a judge had a chance to rule on the licensing issue.

    It’s sad that people would write “news” articles without bothering to get the “facts” from anyone but the Bellingham Police publicist whose sole job it is to make the cops look good.  

    Steve Sarich
    CannaCare
    steve@cannacare.org

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