Stevensville cannabis business owners facing drug charges

HAMILTON- The Ravalli County Attorney’s Office has charged five people, including the owners of a Stevensville medical marijuana business, with felony drug charges. The investigation into the Banana Belt Caregivers dispensary started last July when a landlord found out that his tenant, Darrell Riley, was growing marijuana illegally on his rental property in Florence.

The investigation into Riley led Ravalli County detectives to Edward Smartt, who helped the owners of Banana Belt Caregivers by working in their marijuana garden and helping customers who came into the business. Smartt wasn’t an employee, but prosecutors say the owners let him take marijuana home in exchange for his work. Investigators raided that dispensary in July and now Thomas Patterson, Kelly Goosey and Tony Smith are facing several felony drug charges for running their business illegally.

Montana’s new medical marijuana law took effect on July 1st and those known as “caregivers” had to apply for “provider” cards, before they could serve patients. Prosecutors say the Banana Belt Caregivers owners were running their business when the new law was in effect and the state had not yet issued “provider” cards to anyone.

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