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