“FBI! Get on the floor!” Those were the words Roger Spohn said he heard as four gunmen masquerading as federal agents stormed into his Wallingford home.
The men wanted one thing: marijuana – which Spohn was growing plenty of for legal medical use – and they took off with several pounds of it.
But when Seattle police responded to the home invasion call, Spohn didn’t get sympathy or protection. Rather, according to him, a bigger crime was committed.
Officers and detectives moved in and hauled away hundreds of marijuana plants that were a part of a large growing operation inside the house.
Spohn, who is legally able to grow up to 15 plants for medical use, said he was cultivating a larger amount for fellow medical marijuana patients.
“Every patient can’t grown their own 15 plants. It’s fairly difficult getting them to root and keeping them alive,” he said.
Growing good, medical-grade marijuana is not easy, according to Spohn. But patients with terminal or debilitating health conditions rely on it.
No matter, Spohn was detained for hours as police chopped up the plants and stuffed them inside bags.
“It was pretty terrible. I really felt negative about it,” he said.
Medical marijuana attorney Douglas Hiatt described Spohn’s experience as “ridiculous.”
“They shouldn’t be confiscating it in the first place. It’s only going to sick people. None of it is being diverted. None of it is being sold on the open market,” he said.
Hiatt said Seattle police recently changed its tone on confiscating marijuana even if it’s being grown for medical purposes.
For years, he says there’s been an understanding about how some places have larger growing operations. But that policy of acceptance is apparently not being followed now.
“A lot of patients that band together to grow their medicine together,” Hiatt said. “So when you come into a situation like this, you’re not dealing with one person’s medicine; you’re dealing with as many as a hundred or more.”
Advocates say an incident like this fuels an already severe shortage of medical marijuana.
Police and prosecutors refused to comment on the confiscated plants and whether the Seattle Police Department has, in fact, adopted a new policy on medical marijuana confiscation.
By RAY LANE