Pubdate: Wed, 02 Apr 2014
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2014 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Note: Seldom prints LTEs from outside it's circulation area.
Author: Kristina Davis


ENCINITAS - Encinitas resident Valerie Okun just wanted her medical
marijuana back. Now, at the end of a three-year legal battle, it looks
as though the Yuma County sheriff is going to have to hand it over.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Sheriff Leon
Wilmot's appeal in the case, meaning the Arizona State Supreme Court's
ruling on the matter stands, and Okun should get her marijuana back.

Okun and her husband were driving to a gem show in Arizona when they
were stopped at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Yuma on Jan. 28,
2011. She declared the three-quarters of an ounce of medical marijuana
in her possession, which was in two labeled prescrip-tion bottles,
said Okun's Yuma attorney, Michael Donovan.

Okun has a medical marijuana card from California, which is recognized
under Arizona's medical marijuana law. She was prescribed the cannabis
to counter the effects of lupus, Donovan said.

She was initially charged with three felonies, which were dropped when
she was able to prove that she had a legitimate right to the drug.

"She was without the medication for a period of time," her lawyer
said. "She was scared to death about traveling out of the state,
including Arizona."

An Arizona county court ordered the Sheriff's Office to return her
marijuana, but Wilmot refused, saying he feared it conflicted with
federal drug laws and he could be held personally liable. Both the
Arizona Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court sided with Okun.

It was unclear Tuesday how or when Okun would get the marijuana back.
It's been sitting in evidence for three years and, her lawyer said, is
useless to her now. Yuma sheriff's spokesman Alfonso Zavala said the
agency is in discussions with the County Attorney's Office on how to
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