UPDATE 3pm: Don Morse, one of the principals in the Human Collective, phoned us before airtime – here is his call:
Don joined Portland Cannabis Examiner Jennifer Alexander and Leland Berger, attorney representing the also-raided Grow America Garden Supply, on our interview segment on today’s show, which will be posted shortly.
UPDATE 1pm: The campaign for Oregon’s Measure 80 identifies the solution:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sep. 27, 2012
Yes on 80 Campaign Statement on Oregon Medical Marijuana Raids:
Prohibition is the problem. Regulation is the solution.
“This morning, Washington County sheriffs’ officers raided a medical-marijuana facility in Tigard, the Human Collective. This is just the latest in an increasing number of raids on medical-marijuana operations across Oregon. These raids are symptomatic of a larger problem: marijuana prohibition is a failure, and it’s time to repeal it.
“The effects of prohibition are as destructive as they are wasteful: until marijuana prohibition is repealed, medical marijuana will always be at best a gray market, where business owners are caught in the web of confusing and often contradictory federal, state and local laws. Law-enforcement agencies will remain entangled in the same web, unclear on which laws to enforce and how to enforce them.
“Prohibition continues to force states, cities and counties to waste precious, limited public-safety resources on marijuana-related offenses, rather than on dangerous drugs like meth and heroin, and on dangerous criminals. In a time when public-sector budgets are being cut, sheriffs’ offices are cutting deputies in record numbers, and jails are shuttering cells, the priority for Oregon should be on encouraging new tax revenues and prioritizing public-safety spending. Regulating marijuana will accomplish these priorities.
“We strongly condemn the failure of the war on marijuana and call on all Oregonians to vote yes on Measure 80, which will bolster Oregon’s economy, repeal prohibition, regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older, and re-introduce agricultural hemp into Oregon’s sustainable economy.”
To learn more about Measure 80, visit www.Vote80.org.
UPDATE Noon: We now have copies of the search warrant for the Human Collective raid. The warrant authorizes the arrest of Sarah Anne Bennett by name, a friend of mine who just recently gave birth to her second child (her older child is just a toddler) and anyone else “arriving at” the location who works there. I spoke with Don Morse, who arrived there and promptly left, by telephone; we’ll play the interview on the show at 1pm.
The person identified as Sarah Anne Bennett… (and) All persons found, or arriving at 11509 SW Pacific Highway, Tigard, Washington County, Oregon; 11511 SW Pacific Highway, Tigard, Washington County, Oregon; and 11513 SW Pacific Highway, Tigard, Washington County, Oregon; who work at the business, or exercise any control over the business, or it’s contents, by paying expenses associated with the business, storing personal property, making personal telephone calls from a telephone in the business, or exercising any other form of control over the business.
You are to search, seize, photograph, and analyze the following: Any and all controlled substances, to include, Marijuana plants and useable marijuana; Controlled substance paraphernalia to include, scales, packaging materials, and pipes; Marijuana grow equipment to include, potting soil, planting pots, fertilizer, timers, grow lights, drip watering systems, Mylar, black plastic, and all other items that are used to facilitate the distribution, manufacture, and possession of marijuana; All business records pertaining to The Human Collective and Grow America Garden Supply to include, sales records, purchase records, purchase agreements, customer records, and vendor records. Cash and other negotiable securities and commodities including checks, money orders, precious metals, and any other proceeds or assets from the trafficking of controlled substances: Records and/or ledgers containing marijuana grow operation records; Items of identification such as state issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, utility bills, mail addressed to the subjects, rent receipts and property ownership papers, financial and personal papers; Documents to identify coconspirators: Cellular telephones and their contents; Computers and their contents, any computer data storage devices and their contents.
We just learned of a sheriff’s raid taking place this morning in Washington County. The Human Collective, located in Tigard, just a few miles from Portland, Oregon, was the subject of a raid by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, according to reporting from The Oregonian.
Our own Jennifer Alexander is on her way to the scene for photos and to gain more information. We will work to get representatives of The Human Collective on today’s show for an interview.
Of all the “money walks in marijuana walks out” establishments that have cropped up in Oregon, Human Collective stands apart as one that strives to follow the letter and intent of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) to the highest degree. It is a clean, well-lit, well-run non-profit business headed by patients, caregivers, and growers trying to serve patients despite the OMMA’s bizarre restrictions on marijuana distribution.
Under OMMA, a patient may designate a grower to produce their medicine, whom they may reimburse for the costs of supplies and utilities, but they may not pay for for labor. That’s right, growers are expected to grow marijuana for patients for free. Also, any cardholder may exchange medicine with any other cardholder, as long as “no consideration” (cash, trade, barter, favors, etc.) is given. So under the law, Patient 1 can give Patient 2 a pound and a half of marijuana… but if Patient 2 buys lunch for Patient 1 as thanks, she’s a felon. Patient 1 can receive 1.5 lbs of pot from her grower and give him the few hundred dollars the lights, soil, nutrients, water, and equipment cost to grow it… but if she give him an extra $20 for his trouble, she’s a felon.
Human Collective has tried to work within these guidelines. Growers, to my understanding, could submit their medicine to the collective only with proof of their production costs. Patients joined the collective on a membership basis, fees from which covered the growers’ production costs and operating expenses of the collective. If anybody is following the intent of the law to stymie black market marijuana, it is Human Collective.
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By the way, in case you’re wondering, according to the latest Oregon Uniform Crime Reports, while Washington County Sheriffs are busy shooting fish in a barrel, less than two-thirds of the county’s assaults and less than a quarter of sex crimes and thefts lead to an arrest in 2010. Meanwhile, the hundreds of county patients who relied on Human Collective will now return to their black market connections, boosting the profitability of the very crime the Sheriff’s Office claims to be fighting.