Nearly 300 marijuana plants seized in May raid

Federal agents seized 289  marijuana plants and a variety of pot products during a raid of a Helena  marijuana business last month, according to court documents.  The raid on Sleeping  Giant Caregivers in May came two months after federal agents searched dozens  of medical marijuana businesses across Montana. A search warrant listed over two  dozen items that were seized, including three gallon-sized bags of marijuana,  small pipes and growing tools.  Paul Schmidt, the owner of  Sleeping Giant Caregivers, said the goods seized are about average for a  midsized marijuana growing operation in Montana. He said the 289 seized plants  are well below the legal amount for the approximately 450 patients  he served.  “We just kept enough on hand to  make sure there was enough medicine for the patients and that was it,”  Schmidt said.  He valued the growing equipment  seized at nearly $20,000.

Federal agents also were  authorized to seize up to $1.2 million from a business-related bank account.  Schmidt said $2,011.28 was actually taken and that the business was not  very profitable.  Schmidt said he has had to close  his operation.  The large-scale marijuana  businesses that serve hundreds of customers were allowed by the state’s original  voter-approved medical marijuana law. Montana’s U.S. attorney warned federal  prosecutors would pursue pot businesses but not seriously ill patients who are  following state law.

The U.S. Attorney’s office would  not disclose what prompted the raid on Sleeping Giant Caregivers. U.S. Attorney Michael  Cotter has said the March raids were part of a long-term investigation into  criminal drug trafficking, though no charges have been filed.  Federal action and a perception  by critics that the state’s pot laws were being abused prompted a rewriting of  the states cannabis laws that went into effect May 14.  To rein in more than 30,000  users in Montana and avoid federal intervention, the law prohibits marijuana  from being sold. It must be given away on compassionate grounds starting  July 1.

via : Stamford Avocate

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