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Checks of medical pot dealers urged

From Times Wire Reports

Federal officials want the state to conduct background checks on those certified to supply medical marijuana to patients, in order to close loopholes being exploited by drug dealers.

Ed Kubo, chief federal prosecutor for Hawaii, said the December indictment of Richard Velasco, 49, was an example of why the state needed to strengthen oversight of its medical marijuana program.

Velasco was awarded a medical marijuana caregiver certificate just months after Hawaii County police officers discovered 246 marijuana plants growing on his property. He was arrested for drug trafficking.

The state, which voted in 2000 to allow marijuana use for medical purposes, has 2,609 medical marijuana patients.

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