Pubdate: Tue, 30 Dec 2003
Source: Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)
Copyright: 2003, Denver Publishing Co.
Author: Jon Sarche, Associated Press
Bookmark: (Colorado)


In a clash between state and federal law, a Routt County man whose
medical marijuana was seized in a law enforcement raid was still
waiting to get it back Monday.

A county judge had set the date as the deadline for the government to
return the marijuana.

A federal official said the government had no intention of giving it

Nine members of a drug task force made up of local and federal
officers seized the drug and other items from Hayden resident Don Nord
in October.

Routt County Judge James Garrecht gave the Drug Enforcement
Administration until Monday to return 2 ounces of the drug to Nord,
who is registered in the state medical marijuana program.

DEA spokesman Bill Grant said the agency wasn't bound by the

"Federal law supersedes state law, and the federal government does not
recognize the medicinal use of marijuana," he said.

Nord's attorney, Kristopher Hammond, said the DEA has no jurisdiction
in the case because Nord's home was searched, and the marijuana
seized, under orders from a state judge. Hammond said he would ask
Garrecht to find the agency in contempt.

"There's nothing federal about this case," Hammond said. "The feds
can't just steal the marijuana and therefore make it federal
property." Nord, 57, had been ticketed for misdemeanor drug
possession, but the charges were dismissed because the government lost
its copy of the ticket.

Colorado is among nine states with laws allowing the infirm to grow or
smoke marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. Nord, who has battled
cancer, diabetes and other ailments, has a certificate from the state
allowing him to use the drug under a voter-approved 2000
constitutional amendment.

The government returned to Nord some of his equipment this

Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta, who serves on the board of the Grant,
Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team that searched Nord's home,
said the case brings up sticky jurisdictional questions.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake