A little dispensary in the small town of Spiro, OK (10 miles from Ft. Smith,AR) was busted this week after the owner was caught selling methamphetamines twice to an undercover agent. the news is angering thousands of patients who worry that the politics of the incident will become harmful to their health, if the incident leads to federal action or state regulations getting even more difficult for them to continue treatment of their frail health.
This is the worst case scenario for those who fear a federal crack down. The fact that the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs handled the matter, & not a federal raid by FBI or DEA agents; is actually a god-send to patients and the law-abiding businesses producing, processing, and retailing the medicines.
The OBNDD completely confiscated the entire dispensary inventory and hauled it off. It will likely be considered and asset forfeiture because it's part of a drug crime. The OBNDD could reassign or sell it to another licensed dispensary, but the arrested dispensary owner may also fight to have it used as collateral for his bond & attorney fees in his criminal trial. This could lead to landmark rulings for the industry.
Had the feds made the bust and done the prosecution in federal courts, the asset forfeiture of the entire dispensary inventory would have been certain, but it would pave the way for a broad scale action against all Oklahoma dispensaries, because consistent enforcement of the law is a constitutional requirement, and the feds may see Oklahoma as a state with less 'push-back' against federal action than a west coast state where full state legalization has been politically popular.
Yes, there is a valid libertarian argument for a person's right to determine his own medical treatment and even casual off-label use of drugs. But the political reality is that cultural change comes in increments. the process is slow and often influenced by the optics. This police action is horrible optics for a new medical industry which has otherwise demonstrated great self governance during it's initial rollout. There has not been a standardized & mandated testing law in place since medicines started wide scale retail distribution in January.
With about 170,000 patients already in the licensure system, not much could kill an essential reform like this. But dispensaries selling dangerous and addictive drugs like meth... yeah, that's maybee the worst thing we could have seen happen.
It further drives home the warning to dispensary owners to be very very careful whom your business associates are. If one clerk had been doing this without his boss knowing; that clerk could cost the dispensary owners their entire operation, even if they had no idea what was happening.
It also warns dispensaries not to deal with shady suppliers who may be trucking in illegal cannabis from another state. that too, would result in this same outcome.