In a series of coordinated raids, federal agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration raided marijuana dispensaries in Washington State last week, despite the fact the state legalized the substance last November.
However, while medical marijuana is legal in Washington, it is still illegal under federal law.
The DEA has provided little information about the four searches conducted Wednesday, but an employee at Bayside Collective told The Associated Press she was informed by agents that the raids were part of a two-year investigation.
Washington State and Colorado are the only two states in the U.S. where recreational marijuana use has been legalized by a state law. They are two of the 18 states that allow medical marijuana.
The DEA has made it clear that it will uphold federal law, which still classifies marijuana as an illegal substance.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the recent legalization of marijuana in Washington State. Advocates of Washington drug & alcohol abuse prevention worry that the legalization of marijuana will cause more young people to become addicted.
Proponents of legalizing marijuana argue that the new legal status of marijuana will bring in revenue for the state, save tax payers money by not imprisoning people for possession of small amounts, and will cripple brutal Mexican drug cartels, who are estimated to lose several billion dollars in annual revenue. For some voters, the chance to strike a blow against Mexican drug cartels was the deciding factor. These cartels continue to get more violent and bold, with reports of torsos and decapitated heads surfacing every couple of weeks. Whether or not legalization of marijuana will have a significant impact still remains to be seen. Some argue that the cartels will simply increase sale of other illegal narcotics or start their own legal grow operations to make up for the money they will be losing. Others think there will still be a market for inexpensive Mexican marijuana since legal pot will be taxed and likely far pricier.
More and more Americans are supporting the legalization of marijuana, which results in state lawmakers legalizing marijuana in an attempt to cater to their constituents’ need.
The federal government, however, has not been as receptive to marijuana’s alleged health benefits — being especially insolvent about the legalization of its use for recreational purposes.
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