By Sarah Russo | Published on Project CBD
Around 11 a.m. Montana Cannabis Ministry was raided by federal agents.
This happened while the Montana State Senate Judiciary Committee was deadlocked —in a 6-6 vote— to pass a bill that would have repealed Montana’s medical cannabis law.
MCM is one of the few collectives in the state to be offering CBD rich medicine to their patients. The dispensary carries Misty (a variety testing at 7% CBD and 10% THC) and actively works to increase the CBD content in their in-house grows.
They get almost all of their products tested through Montana Botanical Analysis in Bozeman. Randy Leibenguth, owner of MCM, said, “There is no getting back the genetics we have lost. I guess this is what happens when you do everything by the book.”
Just before 2 pm, Montana NORML started getting calls from people around the state about other raids.
Agencies involved include the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “They’re seizing everything – plants, marijuana, grow equipment, files and computers. It’s very, very broad in its scope,” said Chris Lindsey, a Missoula attorney who focuses on medical marijuana cases. Montana NORML reported that lights, ballasts, and other cultivation equipment are being confiscated.
Christopher Williams, the co-owner of Montana Cannabis, stated that all four of their locations in the state have been raided.
Williams reported that he had 480 flowering plants that yield about 5 ounces of cannabis each growing in his Helena location. Each ounce is sold for $190 at his facility, so around $456,000 worth of cannabis was seized from the Helena collective alone.
Patients and Families United, a statewide patient advocacy group, reported that seven dispensaries across the state have been raided — including Big Sky Patient Care, Good Medicine Providers, and Northern Lights Medical. Four Seasons Gardening (a supply store) was also taken down.
Zoo Mountain Natural Care in Missoula, MT closed its doors for an hour and sent its employees home, then re-opened. Zoo Mountain’s Logan Dean Head said, “I find it strange that the federal government agencies raided multiple stores right after the repeal hearing on HB 161. It makes me question if they are trying to send a message to Montana’s medical cannabis industry.” Head added, “Didn’t the Attorney General Eric Holder say that they would stop federal raids?”
Holder made an appearance in Montana last month. Speaking at the University of Montana in Missoula, he said: “Today I call on each of you to choose action, to choose compassion.” It looks like choosing compassionate care in Montana will get you federally raided.
Stay up to date on the raids through the Montana NORML live blog