Medical marijuana: State wastes $100K when caregiver beats rap?
Medical marijuana caregiver Josh Jones was recently acquitted after not one but two trips to court in relation to what law enforcers counted as 140 plants -- a figure Jones's attorney, Rob Corry, questions.
Big photos below.
However, Corry has no doubt the prosecution of his client was an enormous waste of taxpayer dollars -- one that, by his estimate, exceeded $100,000.
The case "began with an anonymous phone call to the North Metro Drug Task Force -- actually multiple anonymous phone calls from a male," Corry says. "We don't know who he is, and probably never will. He supposedly gave them all these incriminating details about Josh, but he had the incorrect address."
Nonetheless, the task force managed to draw a bead on Jones's Westminster residence anyhow, running his Xcel and water bills before putting "the drug war industrial complex machinery in full gear" in January 2011, Corry continues. "They had sixteen SWAT officers with helmets, face shields, black uniforms, bulletproof vests and AR-15s -- but they didn't check with any government entities such as the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division or the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to see if this guy was a caregiver -- which he was.... MMED is supposed to keep a database of caregivers so we can avoid this type of thing."
Jones's former Westminster residence.
During the raid, Corry points out that "Josh's dogs were injured, and they ransacked his house from top to bottom, breaking all kinds of things. He ended up losing the house because of all the damage done to it. And if they had known he was a caregiver, they could have simply knocked on the door and politely asked to see his plants -- and I'll bet he would have shown them to him, and all his paperwork, too."
Of course, that documentation probably wouldn't have satisfied them. Jones had three patients plus himself -- and since authorities tend to believe the maximum number of plants per person is six, they likely would have seen anything more than 24 plants to violate state law. But Corry sees this as a flawed approach. "The task force is operating under the fiction that people are limited in quantity for the number of plants they can have per patient, and the fiction that a person needs a red medical marijuana registry card, which is optional as far as an affirmative defense is required."
A photo taken in the aftermath of the raid.
Besides, the doctor recommendations for the four patients listed the need for additional plants -- 25 in the case of three patients, an unspecified extra number for the fourth -- because Jones was making edibles for his patients, and they require more cannabis.
The officers didn't immediately seize Jones's plants, "but they did take clippings, which is how they tried to establish their count of 140 plants at trial," Corry says. "But we believe they didn't prove that count beyond a reasonable doubt. They claimed all of it was usable, but the majority of it was garbage -- destined, literally, for the garbage heap.
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