Nine days after drug agents raided Steve Sarich’s home in North Everett, Wa., and carried away 1,500 marijuana plants, he had 50 new ones, the Seattle Times reports. “If they didn’t arrest me with 1,500, it’s not likely they’re going to come back and arrest me for 50,” said Sarich, whose advocacy group, CannaCare, has provided marijuana plants for 1,200 patients all over the state. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will decide whether to prosecute Sarich, said Jeff Eig of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Federal courts don’t recognize Washington state’s Medical Marijuana Act, approved by voters in 1998. Washington is among 11 states with some form of legalized marijuana use for certain medical patients, including those under treatment for cancer, intractable pain, glaucoma and seizures. “There’s no such thing as medical marijuana,” Eig said. The state law says that each person may possess a 60-day supply, which isn’t defined. “They have to get them from somewhere. They don’t just spring out of the air,” said Sarich, who has medical authorization to use marijuana to alleviate spinal pain, but says he only produced plants to give to other patients. Snohomish County Prosecutor Janice Ellis called the conflicting state and federal laws “troubling.” State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who helped create the state medical-marijuana initiative, plans to introduce a bill to clarify patients’ rights to obtain and grow marijuana.