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  1. chillinwill
    From: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n808/a11.html?1065

    COUPLE TO SUE OVER POLICE DESTROYING POT

    A Fort Collins couple is planning to sue the city and Larimer County for more than $200,000 after police officers destroyed their 39 marijuana plants two years ago.

    Last year in court, James and Lisa Masters successfully showed that city police illegally seized their plants following a raid at their home on Aug. 2, 2006. Judge James Hiatt in December ordered the city to return the seized pot plants, which by then were dead.

    The couple said they use the marijuana for medicinal reasons, growing some for their personal use and dispensing the rest to other people registered under the state's medical marijuana law.

    And they say that state law, enshrined in the state Constitution as Amendment 20, required the government to maintain their plants, in much the same way a dog seized as evidence would be fed and cared for.

    "The Masters suffer from debilitating medical conditions that were made worse by the stress of this lengthy case," their lawyer, Rob Corry Jr., wrote in a letter to the city and county declaring plans to sue. "Their valuable medical marijuana was taken away and killed in violation of Colorado law."

    City and county officials say federal law requires them to destroy the plants, or at the very least not care for them. A spokesman for Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said questions about whether agencies must care for live plants would be best answered by the Colorado Department of Public Health, which runs the state's medical marijuana registry. A CDPHE spokesman referred questions to Suthers' spokesman.

    The case could end up having statewide implications, by forcing a judge to decide whether the state or federal law takes precedence.

    For James Masters, however, it has much more important considerations. Lisa Masters has been hospitalized for five weeks with a life-threatening blood disorder that may be related to the fibromyalgia for which she uses marijuana. That medical care has cost the family more than $600,000, James Masters said.

    "It's been a real struggle, but we're not giving up on it," he said this week. "I've committed my life to this."

    The couple runs one of the city's first marijuana dispensaries, selling what they consider to be medical-grade pot for about $45 an ounce.

    They used the federal government's estimates of what marijuana is worth to settle on the approximately $202,000 they are seeking, or $5,200 per plant.

    City officials are set to meet in the next two weeks to determine a response to the Masters' pending lawsuit. The city could offer the couple a settlement, offer to pay the entire claim amount, or decide to fight the claim in court. Pending that decision, city officials declined to comment.

    Larimer County sheriff's deputies last week seized more than 200 live marijuana plants from another local couple who said they were growing it for medicinal purposes, their second arrest in two years under the same circumstances.

    Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said he had no plans to maintain the plants while the courts rule on the new case.

    20, required the government to maintain their plants, in much the same way a dog seized as evidence would be fed and cared for.

    "The Masters suffer from debilitating medical conditions that were made worse by the stress of this lengthy case," their lawyer, Rob Corry Jr., wrote in a letter to the city and county declaring plans to sue. "Their valuable medical marijuana was taken away and killed in violation of Colorado law."

    City and county officials say federal law requires them to destroy the plants or at the very least not care for them. A spokesman for Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said questions about whether agencies must care for live plants would be best answered by the Colorado Department of Public Health, which runs the state's medical marijuana registry. A CDPHE spokesman re-ferred questions to Suthers' spokesman.

    The case could end up having statewide implications, by forcing a judge to decide whether the state or federal law takes precedence.

    For James Masters, however, it has much more important considerations. Lisa Masters has been hospitalized for five weeks with a life-threatening blood disorder that may be related to the fibromyalgia for which she uses marijuana. That medical care has cost the family more than $600,000, James Masters said.

    "It's been a real struggle, but we're not giving up on it," he said this week. "I've committed my life to this."

    The couple runs one of the city's first marijuana dispensaries, selling what they consider to be medical-grade pot for about $45 an ounce.

    They used the federal government's estimates of what marijuana is worth to settle on the approximately $202,000 they are seeking, or $5,200 per plant.

    City officials are set to meet in the next two weeks to determine a response to the Masters' pending lawsuit. The city could offer the couple a settlement, offer to pay the entire claim amount, or decide to fight the claim in court. Pending that decision, city officials declined to comment.

    Larimer County sheriff's deputies last week seized more than 200 live marijuana plants from another local couple who said they were growing it for medicinal purposes, their second arrest in two years under the same circumstances.

    Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said he had no plans to maintain the plants while the courts rule on the new case.

    [sidebar]

    Excerpt from Colorado's Amendment 20

    ( e ) Any property interest that is possessed, owned, or used in connection with the medical use of marijuana or acts incidental to such use, shall not be harmed, neglected, injured, or destroyed while in the possession of state or local law enforcement officials where such property has been seized in connection with the claimed medical use of marijuana. Any such property interest shall not be forfeited under any provision of state law providing for the forfeiture of property other than as a sentence imposed after conviction of a criminal offense or entry of a plea of guilty to such offense. Marijuana and paraphernalia seized by state or local law enforcement officials from a patient or primary care-giver in connection with the claimed medical use of marijuana shall be returned immediately upon the determination of the district attorney or his or her designee that the patient or primary care-giver is entitled to the protection contained in this section as may be evidenced, for! example, by a decision not to prosecute, the dismissal of charges, or acquittal.

Comments

  1. fnord
    This could get very interesting..


    I giggled beer all over my self when i read that! Thats one hell of a fun way to use the system against itself.

    A fellow here in my state once sued the state police then used the money to run for govoner,wanted to pardon all the felons and succede from the U$A. Youd see him at political debates looking like some big crazy guy that stumbled out of the woods,wearing flannel,6 shooters on his hips and beard down his bear belly.

    Sadly his plan failed and he was not ellected into office.
  2. Metomni
    Could get interesting indeed, I'd like to keep up on this story.
  3. Panthers007
    Fnord: Look up Tom Alciere - from New Hampshire. He did run for I think state congress. And won. Once in office, his battle cry was: "Kill all the police!!" He meant it, too! He's friend of a friend o' mine.
  4. JohnDeere
    SWIM too loves the part about using government estimates to value the marijuana. Very hilarious.
  5. fnord
    http://www.coloradoan.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080903/UPDATES01/80903010
  6. Coconut
    Authorities breaking their own laws... what a surprise. Next we'll be finding out that the sky is blue.

    I certainly hope they sue the city with all of their energy and refuse to back down until they win.
  7. chillinwill
    here's an update from: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n839/a08.html?1042

    CITY REFUSES TO PAY FOR DEAD POT PLANTS

    The city of Fort Collins has rejected a local couple's request for more than $200,000 in compensation for their destroyed marijuana plants, possibly leading to a precedent-setting court fight.

    Under the state's medical marijuana law, Amendment 20, the government is supposed to maintain someone's marijuana plants if they are seized as part of a criminal investigation. If the investigation reveals the plants were properly kept as the law permits, the agency is supposed to return them.

    But when James and Lisa Masters got their 39 plants back last December, they were all dead. Fort Collins police seized the plants as part of a criminal investigation into the Masters' pot-growing operation. The couple operates a medical marijuana dispensary in Fort Collins and claimed they were legitimate caregivers for people who need pot to control their pain and other ailments.

    Judge James Hiatt threw out the case against the couple in 2006 after ruling police illegally searched their home. Earlier this summer, the couple promised to sue the city, but gave Fort Collins 90 days to decide whether to simply pay up.

    The city decided not to.

    "... While the city of Fort Collins sincerely regrets your clients believe they were damaged during the scope of duties by city personnel, we are respectfully denying the claim ...," city Risk Manager Lance Murray recently wrote to the couple's attorney, Rob Corry Jr.

    The Masterses argue that their marijuana should have been treated like a pet seized during an investigation. Just like police wouldn't starve a dog, they argue, the city shouldn't have neglected their plants.

    The couple could not produce valid medical marijuana caregiver certificates at the time of their arrest, and Hiatt never ruled on whether they were breaking the law by growing so many plants. Amendment 20 permits people who register with the state health department to grow small amounts for their own use.

    Corry said he believes this case may the first in Colorado to determine whether the government needs to compensate someone for destroying their marijuana - a drug that remains illegal under federal law. Corry said he believes Amendment 20, in conjunction with the state's long-established property laws, requires the city to compensate the Masterses.

    "The law is very clear, and it also makes sense. It is so simple, and it goes for any piece of property," Corry said. "... under similar cases, the government has to compensate you for the property they destroyed illegally."

    Fort Collins police have declined to discuss the circumstances of the case, citing the pending litigation. Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden in his new Bull's-Eye briefing newsletter referred to Amendment 20 as an "ill-conceived state law" and has previously said his department will destroy marijuana seized from grow houses, regardless of whether its owner claims medical use or not.

    In an essay about humorous ways to raise money for his office, Alderden wrote: "None of the law enforcement agencies on the Front Range have a greenhouse, but we have the grow lights we've seized from illegal grow operations so we could convert the vacated cell block to an indoor grow operation. We could charge other agencies to grow their dope, and if the case doesn't require us to return the weed to the charged person, we could get a medical marijuana license from the state and sell it for a profit. A win-win."
  8. Euthanatos93420
    As if it were some new and novel idea never before thought of, tried or actually done. HA!
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