Pubdate: Wed, 15 Oct 2003
Source: North County Times (CA)
Contact:  2003 North County Times
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)


SAN DIEGO - A judge refused today to throw out charges against a marijuana
activist accused of illegally cultivating and possessing the drug for sale
and maintaining a place for its sale.

Dion Markgraaff was arrested and charged nine months after a raid at his
home netted 13 pounds of pot and $11,000-plus in cash. 

The raid last December at Markgraaff's residence came several weeks after a
task force appointed by the San Diego City Council recommended that patients
be allowed to grow 72 plants and possess up to 3 pounds of marijuana for
medical use.

Superior Court Judge Rafael Arreola disagreed with the defendant's legal
challenge of the law.

"I don't see a problem with the face of the complaint," the judge said.
"Factually, I don't know what's going to happen."

Markgraaff said that under Proposition 215, he was within his rights as a
patient and a caregiver to grow marijuana and sell it to people who need it
for their illnesses.

"There's no one in the county who follows Proposition 215 closer than I do,"
the defendant told the judge.

Arreola said the 1996 law was not intended to make California the
marijuana-growing capital of the world and did not allow people to sell the
drug for profit.

Though Proposition 215 enables some people to grow pot for medical reasons,
the federal government does not recognize it and continues to prosecute

Markgraaff and roommate Abner Nevarez were charged after prosecutors
rejected claims that the marijuana at the home was being grown for use by
chronically ill patients in San Diego County.

In the past, Markgraaff said he was a designated caregiver for people with
AIDS, cancer and other diseases and entitled under state law to grow and
distribute pot, with a doctor's recommendation.

He pleaded guilty in March 1999 to a felony charge of maintaining a place
for distribution of a controlled substance and was placed on probation.

Markgraaff and Nevarez are due in court Oct. 24 for a readiness conference
and Nov. 7 for a preliminary hearing.
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