MTPR

DEA Raids Bozeman-Area Medical Marijuana Dispensary

May 19, 2016

Federal agents have raided one of Montana’s largest medical marijuana dispensaries. Drug Enforcement Administration agents descended on Montana Buds in the Bozeman area on Wednesday morning.

A Montana Buds medical marijuana sign.
Credit Corin Cates-Carney

"I have seen them haul off some marijuana plants. They do have a hazmat response team down here [along with] the fire department today. It’s kind of a circus."

That’s Mike Winters, who owns a metal fabrication shop next to Montana Buds in Four Corners. He estimates about 30 law enforcement officers remained on scene Thursday.

A DEA spokesman tells Montana Public Radio only that an "ongoing enforcement activity" is underway in the Bozeman area.

Montana Buds operates eight stores in the state.

Company representatives declined comment.

Montana Cannabis Industry Association spokeswoman, Kate Cholewa, says she has no idea what spurred this week’s raid.

"But my guess would be it’s one of two things: one is, they’re bad actors. Two is our vague laws have created a problem. Either way, I-182, the medical marijuana initiative, is the answer."

In 2004, Montana voters legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. Six years later the legislature passed a bill restricting access to the drug. I-182 proponents say it would overturn those restrictions and create a more responsible system. The campaign’s collected half its stated goal of 36,000 signatures. It needs 24,175 valid signatures before June 17.