Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Merchant Faces at Least Five Years for Bad Timing and 'High-Roller Lifestyle'

A federal jury convicts Lance Gloor of something hundreds of uncharged competitors openly did.

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Where's Weed

On Friday a federal jury in Tacoma convicted Lance Gloor of growing and conspiring to distribute marijuana. The jury, which failed to reach a verdict on a money laundering charge and acquitted Gloor of of possessing a gun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, found that the distribution conspiracy involved at least 100 kilograms, which triggers a five-year mandatory minimum. The maximum is 40 years.

Since Gloor openly ran medical marijuana dispensaries in Lacey, Washington, and the Key Peninsula, there was never any doubt about his guilt under federal law. But it remains a bit mysterious why the feds targeted Gloor while leaving hundreds of other medical marijuana entrepreneurs alone.

"This was done out in the public," Gloor's attorney, Karen Unger, reminded the jury, noting that the outlets he ran paid state taxes, cut payroll checks, and even took credit cards for a while. Evidently Gloor was a little too conspicuous for the Justice Department's taste. According to The Olympian, prosecutors emphasized that "Gloor used profits from the dispensaries to support a lavish lifestyle, including a $500,000 house in Gig Harbor that he leased under a rent-to-own agreement and a several-month stint living at a local hotel." After moving to Las Vegas, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marci Ellsworth said, Gloor "kept skimming the profits to support his high-roller lifestyle."

After the 2011 raids that led to Gloor's indictment, Jenny Durkan, then the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington, said "we will not prosecute truly ill people or their doctors who determine that marijuana is an appropriate medical treatment." But that does not mean the DOJ will stand by while people make money by providing marijuana to patients, Durkan emphasized. "Laws of compassion were never intended to protect brash criminal conduct that masquerades as medical treatment," she said. "In determining how to focus our drug enforcement resources, we will look at the true nature and scope of an enterprise, and its impact on the community. We will continue to target and investigate entities that are large-scale commercial drug enterprises, or that threaten public safety in other ways. Sales to people who are not ill, particularly our youth, sales or grows in school zones, and the use of guns in connection with an enterprise all present a danger to our community."

Those criteria were flexible enough that Durkan could justify targeting pretty much any operation. "These locations claimed to be medical marijuana 'non-profit dispensaries' operating under state law, when in fact they were for-profit businesses generating millions of dollars in gross revenues," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement issued after Gloor's conviction. But all of Washington's dispensaries were indisputably criminal enterprises under federal law, many of them turned a profit, and all of them operated under debatable interpretations of state law—initially as "designated caregivers" for their customers, later as networks of "collective gardens" with rotating memberships. If Gloor had lived in a cheaper house or driven a cheaper car, he might not been one of the unlucky few medical marijuana suppliers to feel the wrath of the U.S. Justice Department.

Had Gloor not been indicted, he could have been one of the medical marijuana merchants competing for licenses from Washington's Liquor and Cannabis Board, which under a legalization initiative approved in 2012 regulates pot shops serving recreational consumers as well as patients. The DOJ is leaving those businesses unmolested, even though they are doing exactly what Gloor was accused of doing—i.e., exchanging contraband for money. It looks like Gloor's real crime, in addition to his "high-roller lifestyle," was bad timing.

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  1. Selective enforcement is part and parcel of a banana republic.

    1. So,some animals are more equal,or just better at keeping their head down?

      1. It’s more about what team any given animal gives campaign contributions to.

        1. This looks like a USAG looking to run for office down the road.

  2. Does the Rohrabacher amendment apply here?

    1. It should. However, Judge Breyer’s decision from the ND California hasn’t been affirmed by the 9th Circuit (and it may not be).

  3. Fuck you Obama and your fucking war on drugs.

  4. US Attorney showboating

  5. “Hey look, this guy’s got a lot of stuff for us to steal. Let’s bust ’em.”

  6. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marci Ellsworth said, Gloor “kept skimming the profits to support his high-roller lifestyle.”

    Its amazing the way these people will twist language. If he’s the owner, he’s not skimming anything – those are *his profits*. And what else are you going to do with your income other than spend it? Nobody hates on Trump for ‘skimming the profits to support his high-roller lifestyle’.

    1. Plus I’m pretty sure that is a requirement of being a non-profit. You aren’t allowed to just let the money sit there. You need to spend it in some way and bonuses for employees are one of the most popular ways.

    2. I thought the same thing reading it. How can an owner skim profits of his own business? I don’t agree with part 2 though – people hate on Trump all the time for his lifestyle, though not for skimming.

    3. I had the same thought.

      Even if this is a nonprofit, there is no prohibition on paying reasonable compensation to your staff. As long as the “profits” he “skimmed” didn’t take him out of range for reasonable comp, this is pure horseshit by the prosecutor.

    4. I think they’re trying to say (in the worst possibly way possible) that there was some accounting fuzziness between the individual and his corporation. I.e., he would take distributions but wouldn’t properly account for them in the corp’s books and use those distributions lead an opulent lifestyle; something that happens ALL THE TIME with small businesses but because marijuana, fuck you.

  7. This has been a common way of enforcing the law since Obama first came into office–see Obama’s enforcement of executive pay restrictions at Wall Street firms as an early example.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB123375514020647787

    The primary reason Obama 1) wouldn’t let Wall Street firms refuse to accept TARP money and 2) wouldn’t let TARP recipients pay the money back was because Obama’s primary objective was to limit pay on Wall Street. If Wall Street firms had TARP money, then he could restrict their pay. If they couldn’t pay TARP money back, then he could continue to restrict their pay.

    Obama simply doesn’t like people making too much money–it offends his progressive sensibilities–and if he can punish you for making too much, he will.

    And that’s just a couple of examples. You can see the same thing at work in punishing companies for providing their employees with “Cadillac” health insurance plans, where the benefits are substantially better than what most people get under ObamaCare.

    Being a progressive has a lot to do with envy, and being a socialist is about using the government to punish those you envy for being wealthy.

    1. Obama simply doesn’t like people making too much money–it offends his progressive sensibilities

      So he donated all of his revenues from his books to some worthy causes, right?

      1. Yea, himself. In his mind there’s no more worthy cause than that.

      2. And he forfeited his $400,000/year salary too, didn’t he? I mean, he’s in the much-maligned ONE PERCENT, so what has he done to atone for his sins?

        What makes it even worse is that the president’s living expenses are pretty much non-existent. Everything is provided for him courtesy of the taxpayers, and I’m pretty sure he’s not paying rent on the White House.

  8. That medical marijuana dispensary…..you didn’t build that.

  9. “These locations claimed to be medical marijuana ‘non-profit dispensaries’ operating under state law, when in fact they were for-profit businesses generating millions of dollars in gross revenues

    Accounting, how does that work?

    1. She probably has a teenage-girl definition of “gross.”

      1. a teenage-girl definition of “gross.”

        When a midget walks up to you and tells you that your hair smells nice?

    2. These locations claimed to be medical marijuana ‘non-profit dispensaries’ operating under state law, when in fact they were for-profit businesses generating millions of dollars in gross revenues

      Either this attorney is too ignorant of what it means to be “for-profit” v. “non-profit”, or she is knows and is too mendacious to tell the truth.

      Either way, this is utterly wrong and she should be embarrassed to have her name associated with something every second-year law student knows, namely: Whether you are a for- or non- has nothing to do with whether you have net revenue/”profits”. It has to do with what happens to those profits.

      Spent on mission/capital for the organization – non-profit.

      Distributed to owners as (de facto) dividends? for-profit.

  10. “Gloor used profits from the dispensaries to support a lavish lifestyle…

    So his real crime was being an EVUL RICH DUDE. Truly a monster…

  11. All of this in a state where Marijuana is legal. I pray they don’t alter the deal any further.

    “Gloor used profits from the dispensaries to support a lavish lifestyle, including a $500,000 house in Gig Harbor that he leased under a rent-to-own agreement and a several-month stint living at a local hotel.” After moving to Las Vegas, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marci Ellsworth said, Gloor “kept skimming the profits to support his high-roller lifestyle.”

    “Skimming” what profits? If I open a bowling alley, am I “skimming” the profits?

    . “Laws of compassion were never intended to protect brash criminal conduct that masquerades as medical treatment,” she said.

    This goes back to my earliest warnings of medicalizing marijuana. Thankfully it’s now recreationally legal here. But I knew the instant it was medicalized, it would be seen in an entirely different light.

    1. If he was off-site, as in Las Vegas, then it could be inferred that he wasn’t doing much work for the biz, which means he was taking a profit rather than paying himself for his work, which is the only legal way he could get $ out of a not-for-profit enterprise.

  12. Interesting that all these comments are directed at the people prosecuting this guy and not at the stupid law under which they are prosecuted. If you really care about this then figure out which law it is and tell your rep to repeal it. Or hey you can make a reference to woodchippers and see how well that works out for you.

    1. Oh please fuck off. Those prosecutors’ hands are completely tied!

  13. Sometimes dude you just have to roll with it man.

    http://www.Full-VPN.tk

  14. $85 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening?And whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids. Heres where I went,

    —————– http://www.richi8.com

  15. It’s not hypocrisy to charge this guy but not others. It’s allocation of resources. Cut down the tall poppies first to make examples of them. If you still have money in the till, go after the little guys. Back when local and state authorities were willing to effectively subsidize the feds’ war on drugs, it was easy to shut down anybody who openly sold marijuana. Now that the feds have to do it by themselves, the actual cost of the drug war is beginning to dawn on them and they’re trying to adjust.

    1. But the “example” says they should go into the recreational pot biz, not medical.

      1. The entrepreneurs, I mean.

        I thought it was strange that federal policy evolved this way, i.e. to discourage medical use of drugs compared to non-medical use. However, it is consistent w gov’t policy on other products, wherein medical claims for products are much more severely policed than non-medical ones. I thought it might be different for things that get you “high”, but it looks like that’s not so; they’d rather have you get high w/o authoriz’n than to get well w/o it.

        1. It would be a real bitch if “cures cancer” became associated with pot.

          Pot and cancer – pdf

  16. lol, US politics, best politics money can buy.

    http://www.Full-VPN.tk

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