Pubdate: Fri, 06 Feb 2004
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Copyright: 2004 West Hawaii Today
Author: Tiffany Edwards, West Hawaii Today
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


HILO - County Councilmembers voted 5 - 2 this week not to settle with a 
medical marijuana patient who is suing police officers for taking her 
marijuana plants and arresting her nearly two years ago.

North Kona Councilman Curtis Tyler and Bob Jacobson, representing Puna, 
Ka'u and South Kona, cast the two dissenting votes after an executive 
session Wednesday.

Kea Wells and John and Rhonda Robison lived in Tyler's district when the 
July 2002 incident occurred. They are suing the police officers involved. 
Wells wanted to settle with the county for $10,000 to avoid a September 
trial, said Jack Schweigert, attorney for Wells and the Robisons.

Wells and the Robisons maintain their constitutional rights were violated 
when police seized 20 marijuana plants and 1.5 ounces of dried marijuana 
from their Kalaoa residence and arrested them. They were released eight 
hours later without any charges.

John Robison, 38, and Wells, 31, are registered with the state Department 
of Public Safety Narcotics Enforcement Division to use medical marijuana to 
treat their acute lympho cytic leukemia. Rhonda Robison, 32, is registered 
to treat her Charco - Marie - Tooth (CMT) muscular dystrophy.

In addition, Rhonda Robison in July 2002 was registered with Public Safety 
as a primary caregiver for Wells, allowing her to grow marijuana for Wells.

A medical marijuana cardholder may have up to four immature plants and 
three mature plants, along with one ounce of usable marijuana per mature 
plant. A mature plant is defined as having buds or flowers.

Police have yet to file charges against Wells and the couple, and a week 
after the incident returned the dried marijuana at the advice of the county 
Prosecutor's Office.

Police have maintained 11 of the 20 plants seized were mature and Wells and 
the Robisons should have only had three mature plants each.

They also have said Wells and the couple should have put labels on the 
plants marking which plants belonged to which patient.

Schweigert confirmed councilmembers rejected Wells' offer Wednesday after 
they met with Deputy Corporation Counsel Joe Kamelamela in executive 
session. Councilmembers' vote was on a motion to take the Corporation 
Counsel's recommendation, but Kamelamela referred a reporter to Schweigert 
for an explanation on the motion.

Late Thursday, Wells said she will not proceed to trial.

"Litigation is too stressful for me. I've got too many things going on," 
she said. "I did not think I was asking too much. Apparently, I was wrong." 
Schweigert said he expects to receive a letter from Kamelamela stating the 
county believes his clients don't have a case, but will provide an 
undisclosed "nuisance" amount.

The Robisons still plan to take the case to trial in September.
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