Police Stage Pot Raid, Make One Arrest

Payson woman claims she was abiding by medical marijuana law

Photo by Andy Towle. |

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In a dramatic raid, officers arrested the owner of Nature’s Harvest in Payson on Friday afternoon after a six-month investigation that included undercover stings in which officers reportedly bought medical marijuana from two businesses listed as “pain clinics.”

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Sheelah Golliglee

Officers arrested Sheelah Golliglee at her home off East Elk Ridge after a Navajo County jury indicted her for operating a criminal enterprise.

Outside her home Friday, Golliglee said she didn’t understand why officers were there and denied any wrongdoing. She said she was acting within the terms of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Law approved by voters.

Officers found marijuana in Golliglee’s home along with an elaborate grow operation in the basement, said Chief Deputy James Molesa with the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO).

Officers also found marijuana and “medibles,” baked goods and lollipops made with marijuana, in Golliglee’s rented Prescott home and the Payson office, Molesa said.

The investigation, dubbed “Cash for Compassion: The World’s Second Oldest Profession,” by the NCSO started after a medical marijuana cardholder complained to police he had been asked to pay for medical marijuana from Golliglee’s Lakeside clinic, Molesa said.

Golliglee was reportedly selling marijuana illegally to cardholders out of Nature’s Harvest pain clinics in Payson and Lakeside.

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Molesa said Golliglee tried to circumvent the law by saying she was only charging patients for a consultation, not for the marijuana-containing products they obtained.

The raid follows a similar one in Tempe Jan. 29, in which officers arrested a man running two “compassion clubs” that alledgedly sold medical marijuana out of Valley strip malls.

While the more than 35,000 Arizona residents with medical marijuana cards are legally allowed to use marijuana, obtaining it lawfully poses a challenge. Only six dispensaries have opened in the state, leaving many to either grow their own cannabis or rely on caretakers. The licensed dispensaries remain the only places people can pay for medical marijuana products.

The law also permits people with cards to grow a limited amount of marijuana if there’s no licensed dispensary within 25 miles. Cardholders or caregivers can give it to other cardholders, but they cannot receive money in return, Molesa said.

At Nature’s Harvest, cardholders would reportedly come in for a consultation, explain their ailment and Golliglee would suggest a strand of marijuana to treat it.

They would then pay $65 for the consultation and receive marijuana, he said.

“The bottom line is, no $65 no marijuana,” he said.

Molesa said Golliglee believed she had found a loophole in the law, but was clearly in business to make a profit.

Molesa said the investigation remains ongoing and additional arrests may occur.

The state health department did give one applicant in Gila County a license to open a dispensary, but will not reveal the name of the license holder. No dispensary has opened in Gila County.

Read more about the raid in Tuesday’s Roundup, including more of the interview with Golliglee.

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