Montana Raids Farms Growing Medical Cannabis

March 14, 2011

Dan Frosch, New York Times

Federal and local law enforcement officials raided medical marijuana operations in Montana this week as legislators debated a proposal aimed at repealing the law that legalized its use.

The state’s House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the repeal bill last month, but in a 6-to-6 vote, it failed to advance past a Senate committee.

What seemed like a small victory for advocates of medical marijuana was overshadowed by reports from growers that the authorities were sweeping down on their operations on Monday.

According to a statement from the United States attorney’s office in Montana, 26 criminal search warrants were executed in 13 communities as part of an investigation into marijuana distribution and trafficking.

Most of the locations that were raided were medical marijuana growers or providers, according to Americans for Safe Access, an Oakland, Calif., group that has been working to fight Montana’s repeal effort. A spokeswoman for the United States attorney’s office declined to discuss details.

Montana voters approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in 2004, and the industry has grown rapidly. With efforts at repeal temporarily stymied, the anti-marijuana forces were expected to use a legislative procedure to circumvent the committee and push the proposal to the Senate floor for a vote.



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