Authorities in Alaska launched a raid on the Alaska Cannabis Club, owned and operated by a former television anchor who resigned on air after announcing she would be devoting herself to marijuana legalization advocacy.
A search warrant produced by authorities prior to the raid indicated they were looking for evidence to support assertions that illegal marijuana sales were taking place on site. The warrant indicated officers were there to search the property and vehicles for cannabis and THC derivatives like edibles, hasish and resins. They were also looking for any forms or electronic statements that might indicate trafficking in controlled substances.
Officers tore through bags and bins on site, uprooted several plants and confiscated computers and paraphernalia. They also impounded two of the vehicles. No arrests were made or charges filed.
The former reporter, Charlene Egbe, also known as Charlo Greene, insisted no marijuana has ever been sold at the center – medicinal or recreational – and the center served only as a place for medical marijuana card holders to share their own supply.
Although Alaska recently became the third state in the country to approve the legalization of recreational marijuana use, the state has yet to set in place a formal set of rules and guidelines about the process. The sale of the drug is still illegal, and so is smoking it in public. The state assembly also enacted an ordinance that bars production of certain marijuana concentrates, including hash oil, unless the company/individual is permitted and licensed.
Greene said her center is essentially a medical marijuana dispensary, and no sales take place there. She filmed the raid as it was occurring on a friend’s smartphone, narrating the scene as if she were a reporter. Although she was upset by what happened, she decided after consulting with her marijuana attorney that the club would re-open again the following morning.
With so many states opening up their doors to marijuana – both medicinal and recreational – it can be easy to lose site of the fact that operations like this have to run a tight ship, or else risk law enforcement intervention. There are still a vast number of agencies that don’t want to see a free flow of the drug, and will use whatever legal loopholes they can to target these locations.
That means dispensaries, collectives, shops and mobile delivery services must adhere to the letter of the law, and routinely consult with an experienced attorney to ensure their operations abide by all state and local ordinances and guidelines.
The drug remains outlawed at the federal level as a Schedule I narcotic. Efforts to change that are continuing, but they haven’t thus far been successful.
Alaska voters decided last November that the drug should be taxed and regulated the same as alcohol. The new law went into effect in late February, and allows adults over 21 to possess up to one ounce of the drug and grow up to six plants, so long as the location is private and secure.
Marijuana cultivation, testing and licensed sale by legitimate businesses will not begin until sometime next year. In the meantime, operations like the Alaska Cannabis Club must ensure they are abiding by all state regulations and statutes.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
The TV reporter who quit on air to become a pot activist is being investigated by Alaska police, March 22, 2015, By Jessica Contrera, The Washington Post
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Marijuana Insurance Considerations Amid Expanding Legalization, March 13, 2015, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog