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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: THC Pharmacy

Pot dispensers face 2-6 mos. in prison

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.

Medical marijuana suspects arraigned

Four men facing federal prison time for operating medical marijuana dispensaries in Spokane appeared in federal court Tuesday afternoon and pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Charles Wright and Jon Vivian, former owners of the THC Pharmacy on South Perry Street, and Jerry Laberdee and Dennis Whited, former owners of Medical Herb Providers, appeared in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno.

Read the rest of Chelsea Bannach's story here.

Past coverage:

July 20: Grand jury indicts Spokane medical marijuana dispensers

April 7: Spokane medical marijuana dispensaries on federal notice

March 17: Owners, law agencies disagree on legality of pot shops

Jury indicts 5 for medical marijuana

THC Pharmacy owner Charles Wright the operator of a marijuana dispensary, 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 Wednesday on federal drug charges.

The owners of two medical marijuana dispensaries in Spokane have been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Charles Wesley Wright and Jon Richard Vivian, owners of the THC Pharmacy on South Perry Street, and Jerry Wayne Laberdee and Dennis Lewis Whited, owners of Medical Herb Providers, face time in federal prison under multi-count indictments filed today in U.S. District Court.

The charges are the latest in an escalating effort by federal authorities to rein in marijuana sales in states where voters have approved its medical use.

“I think I’m more shocked than surprised,” Spokane lawyer Frank Cikutovich, who specializes in marijuana cases.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

April 7: Spokane medical marijuana dispensaries on federal notice

March 17: Owners, law agencies disagree on legality of pot shops

June 28, 2009: Pot's legal ambiguity clouds law enforcement

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