In a series of coordinated raids, federal agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration raided marijuana dispensaries in Washington State on Wednesday, despite the fact the state legalized the substance last November.
DEA spokeswoman Jodie Underwood confirmed the operation to The Associated Press and said all search warrants had been executed by Wednesday evening. Underwood did not go into detail about the raids.
Local television station KIRO 7 reported that the raids followed a two-year investigation by the federal agency, and the station listed four of the dispensaries visited by the DEA.
One of the dispensaries, Bayside Gardens, confirmed the raid on its Facebook page and defiantly announced that it remained open for business.
"We are still open! We may not have meds at the moment but we are still open!" the post read. "They will not keep us down Thank You everyone for ALL of you support and love. We have no Meds, but we still have our dignity and we aren't going anywhere [all sic]."
Bayside employee Casey Lee told another local station, KING 5 News, that around seven vehicles participated in the raid on Bayside Wednesday morning, confiscating documents and around $2,500 worth of medical marijuana.
"It's humiliating," Lee told KING 5.
Leif O'Leary, a medical marijuana patient at the also-raided Seattle Cross dispensary, told KING 5 he didn't understand why federal law enforcement would be concerned with his small-town supplier.
"You can't tell me there isn't [sic] bigger fish to fry, especially now that recreational marijuana is legal [in Washington]," O'Leary said. "It is just to me inconceivable that this is still happening."
Washington State and Colorado are the only two states in the U.S. where recreational marijuana use has been legalized by a state law. They are two of the 18 states that allow medical marijuana.
The DEA has made it clear that it will uphold federal law, which still classifies marijuana as an illegal substance.
"The Drug Enforcement Administration's enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged," said the DEA in a press statement following the passage Washington and Colorado's 2012 legalization initiatives. "In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance. The Department of Justice is reviewing the ballot initiatives and we have no additional comment at this time."
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