Medical pot provider may face charges

A man who operated a medical marijuana dispensary about 100 feet from a Washington State Patrol office could face drug charges if the Spokane County prosecutor's office decides to maintain a strict approach to the state's voter-approved marijuana law.

Paul E. Ellis, 52, was not arrested after sheriff’s deputies served warrants on his house and business earlier this month and seized 179 marijuana plants.

That decision is being reviewed by county Deputy Prosecutor John Grasso, who has argued that anyone distributing medical marijuana to more than one patient is violating state law.

Ellis operates “Med Mar Dis,” a shop in a Spokane Valley strip mall.

Spokane-area police and prosecutors consider anyone distributing marijuana to more than one authorized patient to be violating Washington’s law, which allows for distribution to one person “at any one time.”

Dispensary operators argue the law allows them to distribute to as many people as they want, as long as the transactions are separate.