Sirens & Gavels

THURSDAY, DEC. 1, 2011, 9 A.M.

Pot dispensers face 2-6 mos. in prison

Charles Wright, operator of the marijuana dispensary the THC Pharmacy, gives a quick thumbs up to chanting cannabis activists outside his store during a raid by the Drug Enforcement Administration on  April 28. Wright was indicted by a grand jury on drug charges July 20. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Charles Wright, operator of the marijuana dispensary the THC Pharmacy, gives a quick thumbs up to chanting cannabis activists outside his store during a raid by the Drug Enforcement Administration on April 28. Wright was indicted by a grand jury on drug charges July 20. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Charles Wright gives a quick thumbs up to chanting cannabis activists outside medical marijuana dispensary during a raid by the Drug Enforcement Administration on April 28. Wright faces six months in federal prison when he's sentenced in February. (SRPhoto/Jesse Tinsley)

Gov. Chris Gregoire and Rhode Island Gov.Lincoln Chafee's call for federal authorities to legalize medical marijuana comes just after raids on medical marijuana operations in the Seattle area.

It also comes after two medical marijuana dispensers arrested in Spokane raids pleads guilty to federal drug charges.

Charles Wesley Wright, 41, is to be sentenced on Feb. 21 and Jon Richard Vivian, 31, is to be sentenced on Feb. 13.

Vivian's plea agreement, filed on Nov. 7, calls for him to self-report to federal prison to begin a two-month sentence. He'll be on home confinement for six months and will be on probation for two years, according to the agreement. Vivian is to complete drug testing and treatment as his probation officers directs, and his home, person, office, vehicle and belongings are subject to search.

Wright's plea agreement, filed Nov. 22, calls for him to serve six months in federal prison followed by six months and one day of home confinement. He'll also self report to prison and will be on probation for two years and subject to the same conditions as Vivian, assuming a judge goes along with the sentencing recommendations.

Vivian and Wright each pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Prosecutors dismissed stiffer charges of distribution of marijuana near a school, possession with intent to distribute marijuana near a school, manufacture of marijuana near a school and maintaining a drug-involved premise near a school, where were filed in July as part of a grand jury indictment.

According to the plea agreements, DEA Agent Sam Keiser bought marijuana and clone marijuana plants from Wright and Vivian's THC Pharmacy on April 19 while working undercover. Keiser had a state medical marijuana authorization that employees verified, but federal law doesn't recognize medical marijuana.

DEA agents raided the business on April 28 and seized bottles of marijuana, 36 plants and $12,706. Vivian told police THC Pharmacy had 1,076 "patients," 300 of whom were regulars.

The raid came after federal authorities warned more than 40 dispensaries in the area to shut down or face prosecution. Most complied; only a handful were raided.

Also facing federal charges are Medical Herb Providers owners Jerry Wayne Laberdee and Dennis Lewis Whited. Their charges have not yet been resolved.




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