Police bust Southern Oregon medical marijuana dispensaries

Police bust S. Ore. medical marijuana dispensaries

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MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — Police have arrested four people in raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in Southern Oregon.

Medford Police Chief Tim George said the arrests Thursday followed a two-year investigation in which undercover police bought marijuana.

The charges allege the sale of marijuana outside the law governing medical marijuana. The law legalizing medical marijuana in Oregon allows growers to recover only their expenses, and not anything to cover their labor or a profit.

The Mail Tribune reports that among the four was Lori Duckworth, executive director of the Southern Oregon chapter of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws.

She faces 22 counts of conspiracy to deliver marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school. Authorities said the group's office in Medford is within 1,000 feet of New Dimension Christian School.

Police from a Jackson County drug unit raided the Southern Oregon office of NORML, Puffin's Stuff and The Green Compass in Medford and The Compass in Gold Hill and arrested the person in charge at each location, police said.

Others arrested and their charges: Leland Arden Duckworth, 49, also of Southern Oregon NORML, 22 counts of conspiracy to delivery marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school; David James Bond, 44, who is affiliated with Puffin’ Stuff, eight counts of conspiracy to deliver marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school; and Michael Robert Schanno, 40, owner of The Green Compass and The Compass, four counts of conspiracy to deliver marijuana, four counts of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, delivery of marijuana and manufacture of marijuana.

Lori Duckworth, Leland Duckworth and Schanno remained in jail Friday morning.

Police said they also searched the suspects’ homes.

As police were searching the Southern Oregon NORML office, located next door to the Federal Courthouse in Medford, a crowd of angry people gathered on the street and demanded an explanation.

“Here they are wasting taxpayer money on people who deliver medicine to those in need, while a bunch of tweakers are just down the street,” said Jodi Miller, of Medford, referring to methamphetamine users.

Police later held a press conference on the raids but barred everyone but reporters with credentials.

“I think we deserve answers when police officers take medicine from people who need it,” said Taurie Rubaloff, of Ashland.

Keith Mansur, who runs the Oregon Cannabis Connection newspaper, said the raids would force medical marijuana users to turn to the black market.

“They just raided places that provide medicine to thousands of people,” he said.


Information from: Mail Tribune, http://www.mailtribune.com/

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