From criminals to card-carrying cultivators
BY LINDA BENTLEY | jUNE 15, 2011
The Arizona Department of Health Services has no authority to inspect the homes of those authorized to grow marijuana
Arizona's medical marijuana program is presenting a strange, new world for law enforcement.
Before a single state resident had a registration card issued by the Arizona Department of Health Services, police in Mohave County were seeing pot-possession cases that would normally be routine suddenly dumped by prosecutors.
Yesterday, we wrote about a case in Gilbert in which police raided the home of a marijuana-business owner, seizing two ounces of the man's "medicine" even after he proved he was a bona fide medical marijuana patient. And of course, the state's highest ranking legal authorities, the governor and the state attorney general, (who just happen to be adversaries of the new law), have sued their own state in order to stymie the program.
The conservative Sonoran News, which covers the north Valley, published an interesting yarn a couple of days ago that touches on the confusing situation for cops and licensed marijuana users and growers:
The article by Linda Bentley describes how a couple in Desert Hills was busted in March for allegedly growing 50 pot plants in their home. When Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputies returned to the home of Justin Curran and Krista Leigh Roberts on June 9 with another arrest warrant, they again found marijuana being grown in the home.
But now, either Curran or Roberts (or maybe both) had obtained a caregivers license from the DHS, which allows them to legally grow marijuana on behalf of others -- so the deputies left the pot plants alone.
Curran and Roberts, however, were taken into custody and later charged with new marijuana offenses. Their 3-year-old child, who wasn't supposed to be in the home because of the previous bust, was taken away from them and placed in Child Protective Services custody.
We found this line intriguing:
Since marijuana is a controlled substance, whereas growing, possessing, distributing and selling marijuana is still a violation of federal law, MCSO attempted to get federal law enforcement involved in the case, but to no avail.
Obviously, it galls some cops to think they can't freely bust pot users anymore -- and they aren't going to quit without a fight.