Marijuana dispensaries find legalization still leaves them vulnerable

Caught in the crossfire between state and federal law, dispensary owners in states that have legalized medical cannabis are finding their businesses raided and their products seized

ast month, emergency services were called to an explosion at New MexiCann Natural, a licensed medical marijuana dispensary in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Two employees were injured while making edible cannabis products: Aaron Smith, 28, and Nick Montoya, 29. They were airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital’s Level 1 Trauma Center with third-degree burns from a presumed butane reaction.

Later that night, long after the emergency vehicles had pulled away, federal Drug Enforcement Agency agents arrived. “They seized all the growing marijuana plants, all the cannabis products in the manufacturing facility – the edibles, the extracts, everything,” says attorney Marc Lowry. Approximately 150 plants were uprooted and confiscated. Lowry conservatively values the loss at $250,000, but a good crop “could have easily...

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