Marijuana raid: Cherry Top Farms compliant with state, but feds still seize plants, medicine
Update: According to the manager at the Cherry Top Farms medical marijuana center, a raid yesterday targeted a contract grower, not Cherry Top or any of its employees. But because federal officers were involved, they seized all of the dispensary's live plants, medicine and more, despite it being completely legal under Colorado's rules and regulations.
Big pic below.
"We are 100 percent compliant," emphasizes the manager, who requests that his name not be used in the wake of seizure. "But when the feds walk in, they can do whatever they want."
The manager identifies the target of the investigation as Nathan Do. He and his father, Ha Do, own Earth's Medicine, a Federal Boulevard dispensary that earned a mediocre review from medical marijuana critic William Breathes earlier this year; more on that later.
A photo of a Cherry Top Farms plant from the dispensary's Facebook page.
"He had heat on him from other situations, and he was here -- so they came to take care of him," the manager notes. "But when they got here, they were unable to turn a blind eye. And they did a lot of damage."
The first officers began showing up "at maybe 10:30 or 11 in the morning," the manager recalls. "They blocked the gates, and then progressively more and more agencies showed up. Originally, it was the Denver Police Department, and then it was the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division" -- we contacted MMED yesterday afternoon, and spokeswoman Julie Postlethwait e-mailed that she was unaware of the situation. "Then there were the feds. And when they got here, they decided they needed a search warrant for us, too."
Along the way, the manager continues, "they lined all of us up and questioned us and took our phones and badges" -- the identification badges mandated for dispensary employees by Colorado law. "Then they gave some of us the option to leave, after they handed over their IDs. But a few of us chose to stay, and we were forced to wait in a two-parking-space area, probably ten feet by ten feet, from 11 to 11. They did let us go to the bathroom, but you definitely had to ask permission."
Over the course of the day, the manager guesses that there were "close to three dozen officers here between the Denver Police Department, the Enforcement Division and the feds" -- representatives from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney's Office. "They had their ducks in a row for Nathan, and then, in the afternoon, they faxed a federal search-and-seizure warrant, and showed up with a U-Haul."