Monday, June 28, 2010

Grand jury declines to bring charges against caregivers

Posted By on Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 11:44 AM

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Grand Junction's Daily Sentinel reported Friday that a Mesa County grand jury declined to bring charges against three caregivers that were raided in March, after a neighbor complained about the smell coming from the center.

Cristin and Brian Groves, and Sid Squirrell — all co-owners of Naturals, A Wellness Center — dodged felony charges of cultivation of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and distribution of marijuana.

Squirrell, also a commercial Realtor with Bray & Co., leases a building at 573 W. Crete Circle, where Western Colorado Drug Task Force officers in March found 1,080 marijuana plants. Authorities said they sought a search warrant to determine whether that volume could be justified by the 308 medical-marijuana-registry cards found at the facility. The warrant also allowed Task Force officers to copy all of the registry cards.

“My client has always intended to stay within the law, and he was advised by his (prior) attorney he was operating within the law,” said Stephen Laiche, who represents Squirrell.

It will be interesting to see what precedent — if any — this sets in future interactions between juries and those being prosecuted for growing medical marijuana; certainly it seems to discourage the use of city and county resources to go after those individuals operating within the law.

Interesting note: Amendment 20 allows Naturals to grow another roughly 800 plants if it chooses to do so.

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