Tacoma backs down from threat to shut down medical cannabis clubs

Tacoma demands an end to medical marijuana distribution

Hundreds protest city hall. City backs down.

UPDATE OCTOBER 20, 2010 -- The CDC has received a response to a public records request made for "notices to cease dispensing marijuana issued on behalf of the City of Tacoma in October of 2010, along with related documentation of service of those notices."

As the city has stated to media, a total of eight medical cannabis clubs were targeted. These providers are:

UPDATE OCTOBER 19, 2010 -- On Tuesday night's council meeting, the mayor agreed to postpone any enforcement action against Tacoma medical cannabis providers until after the 2011 legislative session. All parties hope that legislation will pass that will clarify the law and set up guidelines for providers.

Activists to protest Tuesday night city council meeting

TACOMA, WASH. OCTOBER 18, 2010 -- Medical cannabis providers in Tacoma, Washington were served with cease and desist notices by the city on Friday, an escalation in what activists are calling the city's war on medical cannabis.

Tacoma is home to a dozen or more medical cannabis providers licensed to do business in the city. Most of them received certified letters from a city licensing agent claiming that "dispensing medical marijuana to more than one person is illegal" and demanding the clubs shut down by October 24. The letter states that failure to comply will result in fines and penalties "up to and including criminal prosecution." It was copied to several police officials.

Last May, law enforcement shut down the North End 420 Club in a raid led by a federally-funded drug task force from neighboring Kitsap County. In July, Tacoma police raided Tacoma Hemp Company one month after it's founder organized the city's first Hempfest. Other providers have been visited by the police in recent months, and activists claim the city's actions are part of a campaign to undermine the state's medical cannabis law.

"If this move by the city stands, other cities across the state may take similar actions," said Ezra Eickmeyer from the Sensible Washington initiative campaign. "Tacoma’s order to cooperatives is a threat to the medical marijuana community statewide."

Several of the medical cannabis providers that received cease and desist letters responded with public calls to protest Tuesday night's meeting of the Tacoma City Council. "We shall fill your chambers and spill into the streets," wrote Emiel Kandi, who operates COBRA Medical Group. "We shall be heard."

Protest the Tuesday night council meeting!


October 19, 2010 Tacoma City Council Protest

Media reports