Pubdate: Wed, 19 Dec 2007
Source: Army Times (US)
Copyright: 2007 Army Times Publishing Company
Author: Andrew Tilghman, Staff writer
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


A Colorado judge ruled Wednesday that police should  return dozens of 
marijuana plants to a former Marine  and 1991 Persian Gulf War 
veteran who is a licensed  medical marijuana user.

"It's great -- I need my stuff back," said Kevin  Dickes, 39, a 
Denver-area construction worker who left  the Marine Corps as a lance 
corporal in 1993.

Aurora, Colo., police raided Dickes' home in April and  seized plants 
growing in his basement. He was  handcuffed, arrested and charged 
with a felony count of  cultivating marijuana, which carries a 
maximum sentence  of six years in prison.

But last week, prosecutors dropped the charge after  confirming that 
Dickes is licensed to grow the plants  under the Colorado state 
medical marijuana laws that  voters approved in 2000.

In early 1991, Dickes was with 1st Battalion, 4th  Marines, in Kuwait 
helping to transport Iraqi prisoners  of war when one of them 
detonated a grenade that  sprayed him with shrapnel.

Years later, doctors diagnosed him with a chronic  vascular condition 
that stems from his wartime injury  and causes severe pain and 
swelling in his leg. Earlier  this year, he took his Department of 
Veterans Affairs  records to a Denver-area clinic and obtained the 
growing license.

Arapahoe District Judge John Wheeler granted Dickes'  motion 
requesting return of his plants, but Dickes and  his attorney are 
skeptical that police have maintained  the hydroponically grown 
plants for eight months.

"I doubt they have the resources to have a grow room at  the police 
station. Are they going to pay some guy to  sit there and take care 
of my marijuana?" Dickes said  in a telephone interview.

Growing marijuana takes time, care and expertise, he  said, adding 
that he may seek financial damages if  police fail to deliver the 
plants in good condition.

"We're going to get the property back, and then we'll  make our 
assessment as to whether compensation is  warranted," said Dickes' 
attorney, Robert Corry.

Police reports said they seized 71 plants, but Corry  said it wasn't 
that many because some of the plants  were "clones" and not fully grown.

The Drug Enforcement Agency applies a price of $5,200  to each pound 
of marijuana; if that standard applies,  Dickes' plants could be 
worth more than $100,000,  depending on the weight.

Since police took his plants, Dickes said he has  obtained marijuana 
only sporadically from friends and  "caregivers."
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