Acquitted Medical Pot Patient Leaves Boulder Court
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Acquitted Medical Pot Patient Leaves Boulder Court
Posted by CN Staff on August 07, 2009 at 07:46:39 PT
By John Aguilar 
Source: Daily Camera
Boulder, Colo. -- Rolling out of the Boulder County Justice Center in a wheelchair Thursday with a jumble of once-confiscated pot in his lap, Jason Lauve smiled and waved to supporters after a jury acquitted him of possessing too much medical marijuana.Eight men and four women found the 38-year-old Louisville resident not guilty of a felony drug possession charge, as well as lesser charges of possessing marijuana and marijuana concentrate.
Lauve, who was prescribed marijuana to relieve the pain from a back injury, burst out crying, grabbed his defense attorney and nearly fell to his knees when the verdict was announced."Thank you so much," he yelled out to the jurors.Boulder District Judge Maria Berkenkotter had to pause and admonish Lauve's supporters as they applauded and called out during her reading of the verdicts.She ordered that more than two pounds of Lauve's marijuana supply, which had been confiscated by police in a raid of his home last summer, be returned to him."I have a right to live," Lauve said afterward. "All of us as patients have a right to have our own life, not the government's life. We should not be treated like criminals."Laurie Borgers, a medical marijuana patient from Denver, said she was elated by the verdict."I am happy and relieved as expected to see justice was served today," she said outside the courtroom. "They need to stop picking on sick people."Lauve could have spent up to three years in prison had he been convicted of the most serious charge.Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett said Thursday his office will not appeal."That's the way the system works and we respect the jury's verdict and the work they put into it," he said. State Law at Core of Case Lauve's case cast a bright light on Colorado's 9-year-old medical marijuana law, which lets patients with chronic pain and in debilitating health obtain a state-issued ID card clearing them to grow and buy pot.Lauve joined the state's medical marijuana registry after he was severely injured by a snowboarder who plowed into him at Eldora Ski Resort in 2004. He said the collision reduced him from an avid cyclist and expert telemark skier to someone who relies on a cane and wheelchair to get around.He testified during his four-day trial that he smoked pot three times a day and mixed the drug into his food once daily to relieve his pain. Medical marijuana was the most effective pain management tool he had come across, Lauve told the jury, and the drug allowed him to wean himself off of several addictive opiate-based painkillers.Law enforcement authorities, acting on a tip from a neighbor, seized 34 ounces of marijuana from Lauve's home on June 26, 2008. Prosecutors claimed he violated the law by possessing far more than the 2 ounces of usable pot and six plants permitted by the statute.But Lauve and his lawyer countered that the constitutional amendment voters approved in 2000 contains a provision that allows patients to present an "affirmative defense," ultimately giving them the power to determine the amount of marijuana appropriate for their needs.Prosecutor Karen Lorenz contended in closing arguments that by ignoring the limits in the statute, patients and caregivers would essentially have "carte blanche" to possess whatever amount of pot they wanted, gutting the law's intent."There's no doctor to support this, there are random numbers being thrown around based on what he thinks he needs on a day-to-day basis," Lorenz told the jury. "That's not what the medical marijuana statute is for."Lauve's attorney, Rob Corry, argued that prosecutors never came close to proving that his client was doing anything other than legally medicating himself and treating pain that only he could gauge."There is no evidence that he had more than what was medically necessary to treat his severe debilitating medical condition," Corry said. "Who gets to decide what is medically necessary?" 'We Believed You'  Jury foreman Roger Grady said after the trial that he and his 11 colleagues simply attempted to interpret the state law as "common men" would."We believed you," he told Lauve outside the courthouse.Grady, 64, said it was clear that the best person to determine how much medical marijuana a patient needs is the patient himself."We don't know what the limit is for medical marijuana, and the prosecution didn't produce anyone who knew what that limit was," he said.If prosecutors were using Lauve as a "test case" for how the state's medical marijuana law should be applied, Grady said, they chose the wrong man. Grady accused prosecutors of not doing their "homework" and bringing a relatively weak case against Lauve."We thought, 'This guy is doing everything in the law as it was written,'" Grady said.Garnett, the DA, said he didn't see the trial as a medical marijuana test case."It's a careful process we pursue to analyze a case," he said. "We try to treat every defendant individually and fairly."But medical marijuana advocate Laura Kriho, of Boulder, said the case was a waste of public resources that brought misery upon a man who did nothing wrong.She said she hopes Thursday's verdict will bring a fresh understanding of the importance of letting patients take the lead in determining the best treatments for themselves."The DA shouldn't be spending taxpayer dollars telling people how to medicate themselves," she said. "This sets a precedent that Boulder County juries are not going to convict medical cannabis patients for using the amount they see fit."Source: Daily Camera (Boulder, CO)Author: John Aguilar Published: August 6, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Daily CameraWebsite: openforum dailycamera.comURL: Article:MMJ Patient Acquitted on All Charges Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #11 posted by kaptinemo on August 08, 2009 at 08:30:40 PT:
They just never seem to get it
Whenever you see a State re-legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes, and then the citizens who voted for that refuse to convict fellow citizens for availing themselves of that re-legalization, the forces of authoritarianism just never seem to understand. The wind has changed. The worm has turned. People are rejecting the propaganda. And that's being reflected in the changing of the laws. It's reinforced when the authoritarians, who are infuriated that their paymasters have chosen to make changes, try to re-impose the former status quo...and are given the back of the hand courtesy of a court decision like this.And as has been mentioned (and will be mentioned even more as time passes) is the absolute waste of publicly-provided resources at a time when the money that bought those resources could have been better spent.Enough of this, and drug prohibition itself will be doomed, because people like Ms. Lorenz literally cannot afford to anger an increasingly strapped public. One that is very concerned about bread-and-butter issues and will have even less patience with those who seek to waste their money with dog-and-pony shows like this trial.The prohibs have been placed on notice. The game's up. The money tree has been uprooted. Time for belt tightening...and the first notch could easily become the DrugWar.
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on August 07, 2009 at 13:34:43 PT
Jason, Paul Armentano,Fight_4_Freedom, and Gil...
Congratulations, Jason Lauve! I'm so happy about the verdict. I'm sorry they put you through it... but I'm happy you were victorious. Wonderful!Congratulations, Paul... and Whooo Hoooo! Way to go!It sounds like a good and needed book.Good to hear from you Fight_4_Freedom. You are missed. Looking forward to your being able to check in more often again.Gil, Gil, Gil. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on August 07, 2009 at 12:28:30 PT
Stop Selling and We'll Let You Walk Away
Prosecutor To Suspected Drug Dealers: Stop Selling and We'll Let You Walk AwayAugust 7, 2009URL:
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Comment #8 posted by dongenero on August 07, 2009 at 12:23:02 PT
Gotta parse those words very carefully when you're arguing a ridiculous position.Most critically thinking people just don't buy it anymore Gil.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on August 07, 2009 at 11:50:53 PT
Kerlikowske: Legal Pot 'Not in My Vocabulary'
By Molly ShenAugust 7, 2009Less than three months into his job as the nation's Drug Czar, and former Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske found himself under fire, quoted as saying "marijuana is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit."Back in Seattle for a roundtable discussion on drug policy, Kerlikowske sat down with KOMO News and addressed the comment."I certainly said that legalization is not in the president's vocabulary nor is it in mine," Kerlikowske said. "But the other question was in reference to smoked marijuana. and as we know, the FDA has not determined that smoked marijuana has a value, and this is clearly a medical question and that's where I've been leaving it."KOMO 4 News asked if he regretted what he said."Sometimes you make a mistake and you work very hard to correct it. That happens," he said. "I should've clearly said 'smoked' marijuana and then gone on to say that this is clearly a question that should be answered by the medical community."URL:
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Comment #6 posted by Cheebs1 on August 07, 2009 at 11:34:41 PT:
Who Will be First? you think it will be California or Oregon. I don't think it matters who wins because in the end we all will. Peace, Love, and Pot
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Comment #5 posted by paul armentano on August 07, 2009 at 10:40:19 PT
Author has high hopes for new book has high hopes for new bookBy Rachel Raskin-Zrihen/Times-Herald staff writer
Posted: 08/07/2009 08:12:00 AM PDTPaul Armentano is on a mission.
The 37-year-old Vallejo resident aims to convince the powers that be that smoking marijuana is less dangerous on a number of levels than drinking alcohol, and that laws should reflect that.He has co-authored a book, "Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?," which is available on, and will soon be distributed to bookstores nationwide, he said."For those who may be initially skeptical of this message, 'Marijuana Is Safer' will change the way you think about cannabis," Armentano said. "And for those roughly 50 percent of Americans nationwide who already support reforming America's draconian pot laws, this book will change the way they talk about marijuana."A married father of a young daughter, Armentano said he's not a big pot smoker, though he, "like an estimated 100 million Americans, including our present president, have experimented with marijuana, and when I did so I was making a decision to consume a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol. It is illogical and inconsistent for the criminal law to punish people for that decision."Working with nationally recognized marijuana-policy experts Steve Fox and Mason Tvert, Armentano "compares and contrasts the relative harms and legal status of the two most popular recreational substances in the world - marijuana and alcohol," according to Chelsea Green Publishing, which is handling the book. "Through an objectiveADVERTISEMENTexamination of the two drugs and the laws and social practices that steer people toward alcohol, the authors pose a simple yet rarely considered question: Why do we punish adults who make the rational, safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol?"
For those unfamiliar with marijuana, the book "provides an introduction to the cannabis plant and its effects on the user, and debunks some of the government's most frequently cited marijuana myths," according to the publisher's Web site. "For current and aspiring advocates of marijuana-law reform, as well as anyone else who is interested in what is becoming a major political battle, the authors spell out why the message that marijuana is safer than alcohol must be a prominent part of the public debate over legalization."The book also provides the information policy reform advocates need to "make persuasive arguments to friends, family, coworkers, and elected officials," the site notes.Armentano, deputy director of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and the NORML Foundation, said he developed a passion for the subject as a teenager. He now makes his living as an expert in the field of marijuana policy, health, and pharmacology, he said."I see it from a civil liberties view point - that adults have the right to chose what to put in their bodies in the confines of their own homes," he said.Armentano also strongly disagrees with what he sees as the selective enforcement of the marijuana laws."The laws are particularly bad for young people and for race relations in this country," he said.The book's authors selected its title based on "scientific facts" they say prove that alcohol is more dangerous than pot medically and in terms of impairment. Society's relative love affair with booze and disdain for pot is highly hypocritical, not to mention dangerous, Armentano said.Alcohol consumption is much more often associated with vehicle crashes and violent crimes than marijuana is, he said."Marijuana is a safer alternative intoxicant," Armentano said. "If we could cut down on alcohol consumption, it could create a net gain for the health of society."Armentano said he hopes his book will spark the debate in society that may lead to a change in the laws."I think our (marijuana-related) policies, which have been an expensive disaster, cause more harm to society than the use of marijuana ever could," he said.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on August 07, 2009 at 10:16:07 PT
It's wonderful to see you. Things are moving right along. It's been slow and steady as we go. It's a welcome feeling after years of fear under the Bush Administration.
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Comment #3 posted by fight_4_freedom on August 07, 2009 at 09:41:36 PT
Good for Jason
I'm glad this is the last article I'm reading before I go to work for the weekend. This gives me some positivity heading into hell ;)Miss You all C-newsers. I'll be getting wireless internet at my apt. by the end of the month. Then I will be able to truly catch up on all the action that I have missed.Can't wait to be back at my internet home :)
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Comment #2 posted by Vincent on August 07, 2009 at 08:47:08 PT:
the last two articles
Justice has been done.
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Comment #1 posted by tintala on August 07, 2009 at 08:47:02 PT:
Hope now the prosecution sees that they just can't go blazing in with guns and arrest an mmj patient because of archaic laws and unawareness. What a total waste of time, money and stress, this has been a huge topic here in Boulder. Boulder is a great place to live and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.
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