Market day for marijuana has been canceled

Hotel pulls contract on word that sales are against state, federal law

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

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The medical cannabis farmers market scheduled to take place Sunday in Vancouver has been canceled.

Event organizers at Medi Brothers Collective, a Vancouver-based medical marijuana delivery service, canceled the event Friday after the Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay pulled the event's contract, said Mike Sutherland, director of Medi Brothers.

Pam Scott, director of corporate communications for Red Lion Hotels, said federal and state authorities contacted the hotel Friday and advised the hotel that "the conference would, in fact, be in conflict with state and federal law."

Scott would not disclose which federal and state authorities contacted the hotel.

Clark-Vancouver Regional Drug Task Force Cmdr. Mike Cooke said he met with staff at the local hotel Friday.

Cooke said he provided the hotel with information from the Washington State Department of Health and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration websites regarding what is and is not lawful regarding marijuana. Selling marijuana, even for medicinal purposes, is unlawful, Cooke said.

"I simply left that information with them, and I guess they had their own internal investigation and decided to pull the plug," Cooke said.

The event was advertised as an opportunity for medical marijuana users to purchase cannabis, visit vendors and hear from guest speakers. The farmers market would have been open only to medical marijuana patients presenting a physician-issued medical cannabis referral and state identification, Sutherland said.

Sutherland had hoped the weekend event would give patients a much-needed local access point for medical cannabis.

"We're not looking to cause problems," he said. "We just want to provide safe access."


Marissa Harshman: 360-735-4546; http://twitter.com/col_health; http://facebook.com/reporterharshman; marissa.harshman@columbian.com.