By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – The first of four people arrested after police raided what they said was a marijuana dispensary in downtown Centralia was sentenced yesterday to two days in jail.
With two days credit for time served, essentially no time, Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher told a judge yesterday afternoon.
Hub City Natural Medicine opened with a city-granted business license on South Tower Avenue in early 2011. It was shut down in late April of that year after police realized what “education and sales of natural medicine” meant and said they twice caught a worker selling marijuana there.
At the time, some cities in Washington, such as Tacoma, allowed dispensaries of medical marijuana to operate, where, in theory, patients with authorizations make donations to obtain cannabis.
“In five years, maybe what Mr. Low was doing would be legal,” Meagher told the court. “It wasn’t then, and it isn’t now.”
Meagher and defense attorney Don Blair reached a plea agreement in the case of 38-year-old David Low, of Centralia.
Low and two other individuals alleged to be the owners were charged with maintaining a premises for using controlled substances.
He pleaded guilty yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court, with a so-called Alford plea, to attempting to maintain a premises for using controlled substances.
“I think everybody agrees the laws are kind of in flux,” Blair told the judge. “I’m confident at least within five years, all of this will be legal.”
Judge Nelson Hunt was told Low was attempting to start an educational business to teach people to grow marijuana and both sides agreed he never gave any to anyone.
Low, who is also known as the “Dirty Cop Enforcer”, maintains a web site where he berates what he sees as injustices committed by public officials, and in particular police officers.
He said he started the crusade after a traffic stop in late 2011 and what he says was the wrongful turning off of his video camera by a Centralia officer.
Low told the judge he thought his case grew out of a misunderstanding of his role and a “lot of stereotyping.”
“I never intended to commit a crime there,” Low told Judge Hunt. “I have to take responsibility.”
Hunt accepted the plea and sentencing recommendation and told Low he was free to leave, after providing a DNA sample to jail staff.
The crime is an unranked felony, meaning it has a sentence of up to 365 days, according to Meagher.
Still awaiting trials are Lauri Spangler, 47, and Colby Cave, 35, of Curtis. They remain charged with maintaining a premises for using controlled substances. A charge of possession of a stolen ATV that grew out of a search of their property has been dropped, Meagher said.
Daniel J. Mack, 41, who was arrested during the April 20, 2011 raid of Hub City Natural Medicine for delivery and possession of marijuana, pleaded guilty in June. He has yet to be sentenced, according to Meagher.
Mack was persuaded to testify against the others, Meagher said.
For background, read “Centralia police seize computers, products at medical marijuana business” from Thursday April 21, 2011, here