Lena Whittle had just left her job last Sunday evening at a medical marijuana dispensary called the BOTH Collective on 10th Avenue, adjacent to the Capitol Hill Block Party, when she headed through the nearby festival gates. Expecting a routine security check, she handed over her backpack to a female security guard who started to go through the pouches and seized on a bag of marijuana.
"She said that I couldn't take these in with me, referring to my dried medicine," Whittle recalls the guard telling her. Asked to simply have the cannabis returned, the guard refused. Whittle explained that she was carrying her authorization from a licensed state medical professional. "She said that doesn't matter because it's not fully legal," Whittle recalls.
In fact, Washington State law allows legally authorized patients to possess up to "twenty-four ounces of useable cannabis."
Nonetheless, the security guard continued to search the bag, Whittle says, and eventually confiscated approximately eight grams of cannabis worth around $80 and refused to give it back. But does the Capitol Hill Block Party Party even have a policy against medical marijuana possession? Whittle suspects it doesn't.
"I felt like I was taken advantage of and my stuff was stolen from me," Whittle says, explaining that she left the event almost immediately afterward feeling flustered. "I didn't think that something the state says is medicine was a danger to anyone at the block party, but I was treated like a criminal."
Block Party organizers, who hire an independent security firm to work the gates, haven't yet responded to a request for comment. I'll up date this post if I hear back.