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Medical Marijuana: Seattle Police Seize Hundreds of Patient Files in Raid on Co-op

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #543)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Seattle police who acted after a bicycle officer smelled marijuana seized files on nearly 600 medical marijuana patients Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. After consulting with prosecutors, police raided the Lifevine cooperative and seized 12 ounces of marijuana and a computer, as well as the patient files.

According to Martin Martinez, who heads the co-op as well as Cascadia NORML, no marijuana was being grown at the scene and no one was arrested. The patient files were on hand because Cascadia NORML was preparing ID cards and needed proof the patients were legitimate, he said.

Under Washington's medical marijuana law, patients can have a 60-day supply of marijuana. The law does not define that quantity, but the state Health Department this month proposed that it be defined as 24 ounces of usable marijuana, and six mature and 18 immature plants. Seattle voters in 2003 passed an initiative making adult marijuana possession offenses the lowest law enforcement priority.

Apparently somebody in the city's law enforcement establishment didn't get the message. A spokesman for the King County prosecutor's office told the AP that police consulted a deputy prosecutor before raiding the co-op. The Seattle police have so far not commented.

Martinez and Seattle medical marijuana attorney Douglas Hiatt said they tried to persuade police and the deputy prosecutor not to raid the premises since the state's medical marijuana law was not being violated. But that didn't work.

The police "have a heck of a lot of patient records I don't think they should have," said Hiatt. "For one thing, those records are protected under federal privacy laws. If you're a medical marijuana patient, you don't want the police to know who you are or where you live, and this is why -- because you don't get treated very well."

Washington ACLU attorney Alison Chinn Holcomb told the AP there was no evidence the co-op was growing or providing marijuana and no information so far revealed that would justify seizing patient records. "These are very sick people with very serious conditions, and we're sure none of them want the nature of those conditions made available to the public or to anyone who doesn't have a valid need for it," she said.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

I agree completely with the author. These police officers and the prosecutors are the ones who should be prosecuted for violating Washington State as well as Federal laws.

Fri, 07/18/2008 - 2:06pm Permalink
Scott E (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I'd like all these officers to have a chemotherapy treatment or 6 then tell me how bad drugs are . There spending OUR MONEY doing something we voted against. Maybe a bladder scope or two would help them understand. In the U.S.A. Tobacco kills more people each year than AIDS and all the other drugs combined. P.S. My heart goes out to the family's of the slain officers these past two months, seriously!!!!!!! But if the killers had smoked a bunch of hash instead of cigeretts those officers would still be alive.

Wed, 12/30/2009 - 9:02am Permalink
S.E. (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I wish they would make lawn grass illegal so the cops could trim my yard every month. Kids can get pot and other drugs easier than they can beer and ciggs. I'ts TRUE !!!! , Isn't that backwords ? this isn't rocket science!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When drinking was Illegal , the only ones it helped were bootleggers and your Al Capone types.You can't fix stupid if you don't learn from it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If tobacco were illegal Cuba would be the richest country in the world. And if I could smoke pot I wouldn't be so pissed at the world right NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I Have Cancer and I'm afraid to go through the legal hassle ,,,so I suffer!

Wed, 12/30/2009 - 9:48am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Never trust your name on any gov't list, state med pot, or otherwise... it's just another invitation for them to violate your rights, liberties, and freedoms!

First, reformers know who the real criminals are... prohibitionists... and the stools that love them in law enforcement.

Same thing happened in Morro Bay,CA when the Dumb Evil Assholes (DEA) shut down that dispensory last year.

Seattle Hempfest is next month, August 16th & 17th, hopefully we'll have clarification on who these fuckers were, by name for the public record, and how they should be punished for their crimes against humanity & the constitution... tar and feathering comes to mind followed by public humiliation followed by imprisonment if anyone on the list is apprehended or otherwise fucked with by the deceitful, intolerant, and delusional assholes or their agents!

We need a 'Green Panther' party to deal with the legions of criminal prohibitionist vermin, usually fundamentalist christians, that I hatefully refer to as the 'crackheads of christianity'!

Remember, Gov't & Religion, are the 2 most dangerous social narcotics known to man and remain the primary enemies of the drug reform movement and lawful constitutional laws!

If you can't say no to gods & gov'ts you may as well say goodbye to the founding principles of this country. Until the 2 greatest antagonists to our freedoms is put in it's rightful, and limited place, we will never acheive the egilitarian society that promises to free us from their coercive thoughts and actions!

Billy B. Blunt
Tacoma, WA

Fri, 07/18/2008 - 3:04pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

This is what happens when might rules: the men with the guns can do as they please, covered by the laws they have made, allowing them to savage their fellow citizens in the name of "justice." This is exactly the same as the nazis did, and the Soviet secret police.

America will never regain its former liberty, for a cringing populace has allowed it to be leached away over the last century. Now the wolves rule, and there is no more justice, only the trappings.

Sun, 07/20/2008 - 12:30am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Immediately after posting the above I went to the CNN web site, to be greeted with the headline "Cops use stun gun on blind woman." And they claim the torture of prisoners in Iraq was an "aberration?" Maybe in Iraq, but it is certainly a regular occurrence here at home where the police rampages at will. But, then again, it is a police state so that's to be expected. And the cowed American people acquiesces, just like the German people acquiesced in the depredations of the nazis.

Sun, 07/20/2008 - 12:47am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

The illegal seizure of confidential medical records is a FELONY, MUCH more serious then the piddly 12 oz of cannabis.

Sun, 07/20/2008 - 4:23pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

It is great to have a well informed and educated citizenry. We are dealing with violations of our rights and abuses of power by police and government officials. These "officials" should protect the citizens of our state from this sort of harassment and mistreatment.

Norman Lepoff, M.D. (retired)

Tue, 07/29/2008 - 12:03pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

What we need to do is make booze illegal one of the biggest killers America has ever seen. The pathetic cops and prosecuters would go into heavy withdrawal if there booze was taken away. It's unbelievable to me that the worst drug known to man, alcohol is legal and available to the children

Fri, 07/17/2009 - 9:55pm Permalink



Wow, that's a lot of patients. Mr. Martinez and Mr. Hiatt are pretty big time drug dealers, I'd say. I don't think these carpetbagger profiteers are what the law intended to create, and they should be outlawed. Sadly they're not the biggest in town. Who makes these guys rich? Sick people who can least afford it. Shame!

Mon, 03/01/2010 - 10:01pm Permalink

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