At one time, Guy Casey co-owned a medical marijuana dispensary in Tacoma--North End Club 420-- that he says served more than 5,000 patients. Today, after the latest in a long series of legal developments, Casey tells Seattle Weekly: "We're done with the business."
Prosecutors charged the pair with distributing marijuana, but later dropped the charges when it appeared that their confidential informant was a headcase. The informant had told prosecutors he was stabbed in the hand by someone who didn't want him to testify, John Sheeran of the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office, tells SW. But Sheeran says the wounds appeared to be "self-inflicted." Sheeran has no explanation for this bizarre behavior.
With the charges dropped, Casey and Schaef filed a motion in Pierce County Superior Court to get at least some of the seized marijuana back. On Friday, Judge John Hickman said nothing doing. Since dispensaries are not legal, the case centered on whether Casey and Schaef--both medical marijuana patients themselves--could legally possess more than 10 pounds of cannabis. Since that amount exceeds the limit set by the state (absent a doctor's recommendation for more), Hickman ruled Casey and Schaef were not entitled to the confiscated pot.
As if all that wasn't enough, Casey is still stinging from a second raid in November, part of a crackdown on dispensaries throughout the region coordinated by the feds. Casey says no charges have yet been filed.
But Casey, a 50-year-old former longshoreman who says he suffers from arthritis and spinal stenosis, apparently got the intended message from law enforcement. "I don't need any felonies," he says. Club 420, as well as a separate dispensary he ran when he split from Schaef, are now permanently closed to the public.
Casey's not leaving medical marijuana entirely behind, however. Casey says he intends to open a "collective garden"--a very limited kind of co-op that allows a maximum of 10 members to grow together, and which is allowed under the bill Governor Chris Gregoire gutted last year.
The legislature is now hearing a new bill that would legalize dispensaries. But Casey, for one, is not holding his breath, perhaps reflecting a larger dampening of medical marijuana's go-go days.