Jami Bisi, 50, and Dennis Coughlin, 68, of Cannabis Outreach Services, located on Lacey Boulevard in Lacey, and Ciaran Wilburn and Preyton Labuda, both 27, of The Healing Center, located on Capitol Way in downtown Olympia, all stipulated in court Monday that they delivered and possessed marijuana, their attorney, Douglas Hiatt, said.
But under an agreement formalized with prosecutors on Monday, if all four defendants complete the one-year Friendship Diversion program and avoid any subsequent criminal law violations, all felony charges against them will be dropped. All were initially charged with more than 20 felonies related to the possession, manufacture and distribution of marijuana.
If the defendants fail to complete the diversion program, or are cited with subsequent criminal law violations, prosecutors can sentence them to between 36 and 48 months in prison, Hiatt said.
Hiatt said both Cannabis Outreach Services and The Healing Center remain open for business, providing medical marijuana to qualifying medical marijuana patients.
Hiatt said outside court that the result was a victory for his clients. Hiatt said they are operating legally under the state's medical marijuana laws, which allow "collective gardens" to legally provide cannabis to qualifying medical patients.
"It's legal," Hiatt said.
The Thurston County Narcotics Task Force raided five medical marijuana collectives in Olympia on Nov. 15, including Cannabis Outreach Services and The Healing Center, and made 17 arrests. According to court papers, narcotics detectives obtained medical marijuana authorizations in their undercover names and purchased marijuana from all five of the medical marijuana collectives.
Defendants from the three other Thurston County medical marijuana collectives still face pending criminal charges.
Thurston County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Toynbee said Monday that he does not agree with Hiatt's opinions regarding medical cannabis providers. He said the issue of local medical marijuana providers is a difficult one for the prosecutor's office. He added that his office will continue to work toward solutions that are fair and just regarding medical marijuana providers in Thurston County.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 email@example.com