It was almost a year ago, in August 2013 that Attorney
General Eric Holder announced that federal law enforcement would avoid raiding
and prosecuting recreational cannabis users as well as growers and vendors, in
Colorado and Washington State. This was a promise that was made in an official
statement, but unfortunately promises made by the U.S. government when it comes
to butane-based accidents can be broken.
The DEA’s recent campaign “Operation Shattered,” has increased
the number of federal activity in the cannabis community of Washington,
especially after a few butane-related explosions occurred in Bellevue,
Kirkland, Seattle and Puyallup. Eight individuals related to the accidents have
been indicted in the name of “Operation Shattered,” all of whom are facing 35
or more years of jail time.
Earlier in May 2014, an unfortunate explosion occurred due
to a canned butane accident. Hundreds of empty butane cans were strewn onto the
front lawn of the house, and debris from the explosion caused the entire street
to be shut down while police investigated, according to Northwest Leaf.
More recently at 4 a.m. this morning, the home of Debbie
Belcher and Josh Mauk was raided by King County Law Enforcement, on accounts of
“manufacturing a controlled substance,” “reckless endangerment” and “unlawful
possession of a firearm,” according to the acquired warrant. The couple’s business,
Home Blown Concentrates, was to create cannabis medicine for medical patients
only. Northwest Leaf presents advice
to all cannabis businesses working out of their homes, “All processors need to
ensure safe and best practices, for the safety of patients and the industry.”
Even after all that has occurred in the past year, including
the improved banking situation introduced by the Obama administration, the
successful launch of Washington’s first recreational sales and even the more
recent call for rescheduling cannabis by the New York Times editorial board, the federal government has decided
to use the potential dangers of home processing as a reason to begin raiding Washington
home-operations. Needless to say, this is only the beginning.