Gilbert police, under Chief Tim Dorn, have taken an intolerant view of the cannabis clubs that have sprouted up since voters approved medical marijuana two years ago.
Gilbert PD carried out the first raid in the state, as far as we know, against a club, busting a small cooperative in Tempe back in June of 2011. (That cooperative's owner, Garry Ferguson, was never charged.) Last month, the agency's crack troops stormed a medical-marijuana club in Mesa, accusing three people of selling marijuana and "narcotics" that are really just more marijuana to qualified patients.
Other police agencies, including Phoenix, Tempe and several outside of the Valley, have busted cannabis clubs in recent months, but Gilbert is clearly one of the leaders in going after these businesses.
Opening a compassion club in Gilbert would seem like a bad idea. But that's what 1st Class Compassion did. It didn't last long. The place launched a Facebook page in June, and police launched their raid on October 25.
Gilbert police released details today of the raid following a request for information by New Times, which had received a tip about the bust from a reader.
Here's the info from an e-mail sent to us by Gilbert police Sergeant Jesse Sanger:
Several undercover drug purchases were made in the month of October, 2012 at 1st Class Collective located at 607 S Gilbert Rd, Unit B, Gilbert Arizona. A search warrant was executed by Gilbert Police Detectives on 10-25-2012. Suspected marijuana, candy, cookies, powder, and US currency was seized during the search warrant.
Nobody was arrested, it seems. But three people are facing potential felony charges once the crime lab analyzes those samples.
Wayne Thacker, 59, Linda Lee, 62, and Samantha Cunningham, 21, could be charged with possession of marijuana for sale, for the marijuana, and with possession of narcotic drugs for sale, (apparently for the powdered marijuana flowers, or perhaps for liquid, concentrated marijuana that may have been found.)
As with some of the other clubs of which we've written, this one wasn't trying to hide. It's Facebook site states:
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We have a wide variety of medicine at the 1st Class Collective!~ -Sprays -Oils - Drinks! (medicated) -Vapor Pen (in case you need medicine but don't want the stank, allowed in public!) -Clones -suckers -quality medication and much more!
As far as police in Gilbert and other Maricopa cities are concerned, Colorado and Washington may have their legal weed, but those supply even qualified medical patients in Arizona face the risk of state prosecution.
Lastly, we'll again note the lack of news releases about the raids on these clubs. Sanger has put out news releases about potential crimes in Gilbert that aren't as high-profile as the bust of 1st Class Collective, a business that allegedly sold marijuana openly, between a barber's shop and an insurance agency. We're not aware of any news releases put out by other Valley police agencies concerning compassion-club raids.
While playing the role of modern-day prohibitionists, the police agencies don't appear eager to antagonize some of the 841,348 Arizonans who voted for medical-marijuana dispensaries.