Pot patient told to smoke, not grow

By chillinwill · Aug 29, 2009 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - An Albuquerque woman says she's doesn't know what to do now that police have seized her medical marijuana plants.

    She has a permit to possess the drug, but not grow it.

    “I'm devastated.” Alana Bonaccorsi told News 13. “I am anorexic, and I only have a little bit at night to help me eat.”

    She told KRQE News 13 she thought she could grow it too. But Wednesday officers ripped up her plants after she called to report that some teenagers tried to steal the plants from her backyard.

    “I don't have the money to buy it, and I thought I was able to grow my own," Bonaccoris said.

    But she doesn't have a grower's permit. Now investigators are trying to determine if she should be charged.

    Vashti Lowe with the district attorney's office said this isn't a typical drug case.

    “We are going to look at the law very carefully," Lowe said. "We are going to prosecute those people who are in violation of the law and attempt to safeguard the rights of those individuals who have legitimate illnesses and a valid license to either possess or grow marijuana."

    Debra Busemeyer with the state Department of Health said the number of medical marijuana permits has increased in the last few months.

    “We have 540 active patients in our program, and of those a little over a 100 have a license to produce for themselves," she said. Patients are informed from the beginning of the limits of their permits, she added.

    The permits limit possession to no more than 6 ounces, and growers can only have 12 plants.

    For those not allowed to grown their own, there is a non-profit group permitted to distribute in the state. But Bonaccorsi said it's too expensive for her.

    “Seven grams will be close to $90, and there's 28 grams in an ounce.” Bonaccorsi said.

    The health department said it is fairly easy to upgrade someone with a user's permit to allow them to grow marijuana. The DOH said it’s happy to help with that.

    The district attorney's office said it expects review Bonaccorsi's case in the next few weeks.

    Growing marijuana for personal use is a misdemeanor while growing enough for distribution can draw 18 months in jail.

    Reporter: Alex Tomlin
    August 27, 2009

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