Boat of medical marijuana dispensary owner seized by police

by: Richard Thompson Updated:

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It was just before five o'clock Thursday evening that a medical marijuana dispensary owner, Casey Lee, returned to the 50-footboat he and his partner call home at an Olympia marina. Lee was greeted by two agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. "They said 'we are seizing your boat because it's been bought with drug money' and I said obviously we don't feel the same," said Lee.

Lee runs Bayside Collective near Olympia which is one of four medical marijuana dispensaries raided by the DEA on Wednesday as part of a two-year investigation. Lee and his partner, Addy Norton, who both work together at the collective and live together on the boat, tell KIRO 7 they run their business according to Washington state law and are shocked the feds are seizing their home. A tearful Norton said "I think it's wrong what they are doing to us, taking our house and coming into our lives and tearing them apart." Lee added, "I don't understand any of this, this is all hard-earned money, it was all completely tracked, none of it was hidden away in a cupboard somewhere." 

Throughout the evening on Thursday the two DEA agents watched as the dispensary operators, with the help of friends and family, moved all their personal belongings, including their dogs, off the boat. Lee says he doesn't know what they will do now. "I still have a car; I might be able to sleep in my car tonight."

DEA spokesperson Jodi Underwood would not comment on the ongoing investigation except to say "A civil seizure warrant has been served and the vessel is now in possession of the federal government, and it's pursuing forfeiture proceedings."

Both Lee and Norton say they feel caught in the middle of the battle over marijuana legalization since pot is legal under Washington state law but still illegal under federal law. Norton said "I feel like our government has wronged us. I feel the government has robbed us of our rights."