Feds May Have To Reimburse Marijuana Grower

Feds May Have To Reimburse Marijuana Grower
Posted by CN Staff on September 22, 2007 at 06:32:30 PT
By Amanda Bohman, Staff Writer
Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Alaska -- A Fairbanks man whose multimillion-dollar marijuana growing operation was disbanded in the early 1990s is poised to be reimbursed for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property seized by the federal government.The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that John Collette did not receive proper notice for items confiscated, including two aircraft, a dump truck, snowmachines, a computer and more than $40,000 from bank accounts, according to court documents.
A lower court will determine the items’ worth, plus interest, unless the federal government settles with Collette or exercises an appeal.“Beating up on the government at every opportunity has been my deal since I was 20 years old,” said Collette, who is now 60.Fifteen years ago, Collette and his family were asleep early one morning when authorities, led by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, raided their home and business, Happy Creek Greenhouse.Collette and 14 others were charged with crimes associated with a marijuana syndicate that reportedly reached the state of Washington.Collette fled the country but later returned and pleaded guilty to more than a dozen charges having to do with manufacturing and distributing marijuana.Collette served eight and a half years of an 11-year sentence and was released from prison in early 2003. Collette studied law while incarcerated, he said.Since his release, Collette has spent much of his time working on his lawsuit against the government.“I represented myself from beginning to end,” Collette said. “My bill would be half a million dollars, at least, if I were a lawyer.”The case came before a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after a lower court dismissed Collette’s claim.The 9th Circuit ruling, issued by memorandum on Sept. 6, was not completely in Collette’s favor.The judges decided that proper notice was given before the DEA took ownership of a 1984 Audi Quattro, a 1984 Volkswagen Quantum, a 1982 Kubota tractor and marijuana growing equipment.The DEA confiscates property from people accused of selling drugs if the property is deemed to have been bought with drug proceeds. By law, owners must be notified of what was seized and how to contest the seizures.The DEA allegedly mailed Collette three or four notices regarding each seized item.In one example, a 1988 Glasair III aircraft, the DEA sent three notices of seizure to Collette at three different addresses. One was returned to the DEA for insufficient address, another was returned because no mail box was available and the third was returned for an unknown reason.Some notices were sent to Collette at the Cook Inlet Pre-Trial Facility in Anchorage and signed for by jail workers.The federal government has maintained that Collette didn’t know about the seizure notices because he didn’t want to know.Collette said that if the government repays him, most of the money would go toward debts.If the case reaches the level of the U.S. Supreme Court — a long shot, Collette admits — that wouldn’t bother him either.“It would give me a national forum to go from talk show to talk show,” Collette said. “I’m an old announcer with KUAC, so I am familiar with microphones.”Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (AK)Author: Amanda Bohman, Staff WriterPublished: September 22, 2007Copyright: 2007 Fairbanks Publishing Company, Inc.Contact: letters newsminer.comWebsite: CannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on September 22, 2007 at 08:03:04 PT
News Article from Associated Content
Democratic Convention Should Be Safe Haven for Pot Smokers, Group Says***Local Marijuana Group Bargaining for Arrest-free DNC By Dave Maddox Published September 22, 2007 
 Colorado -- A sector of the marijuana lobby has been targeting Denver politics for some time now, claiming that facts suggest that marijuana should be of lesser concern than alcohol in public policy. With an item under consideration directing the police to make pot their last priority before the City Council, the group Citizens for a Safer Denver has volunteered to remove that item from consideration - if the city is declared a safe zone for possessing and smoking one ounce or less during the Democratic National Convention.With a Denver referendum in 2005 resulting in legalization in the city called meaningless because of continuing statewide prohibitions, recent misfires in the pot lobby's legislative strategy have been characterized as procedural errors by the local mainstream media as well. The City of Denver does not appear to have a way to remove items submitted for consideration, although the group points out that courts are unlikely to force consideration of an item which neither side wants, and while the State of Colorado does have a mechanism to remove petitions, the City of Denver's laws are simply silent on the matter.Complete Article:
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