Pubdate: Fri, 19 Sep 2014
Source: Baraboo News Republic  (WI)
Copyright: 2014 Capital Newspapers
Author: Elizabeth Onheiber


A married couple so far has avoided marijuana charges after providing
Baraboo police with doctors' notes and other documentation during an
incident in which they were found with a small amount of pot and a
smoking pipe during a local political event Saturday.

Baraboo Police Department Sgt. Mark Lee and Det. Jeremy Drexler
investigated a report of a dog left in a car during Fighting Bob Fest
at the Sauk County Fairgrounds in Baraboo. While speaking with Madison
residents Greg and Karen Kinsey about the complaint, the officers
reported seeing a marijuana pipe through the car window. Police
confiscated it along with a small amount of marijuana found in the
car, though the issue involving the pet was resolved.

Neither of the Kinseys was charged with marijuana or paraphernalia
possession, after both provided officers with signed documentation
from Wisconsin doctors who recommended the use of medical marijuana.
Karen Kinsey also says she provided authorities with a valid Oregon
medical marijuana registry card.

The husband and wife say their prescriptions for medical marijuana are
intended to help with Crohn's disease and treat the pain of scoliosis,

Greg Kinsey serves as secretary of Wisconsin's National Organization
for the Reform of Marijuana Laws chapter. Friend Gary Storck,
co-founder of Is My Medicine Legal Yet? also was with the couple when
officers responded. The three cited little-known state legislation on
the books since 1971 that saved them from immediately being charged
with drug crimes, though police say an investigation into the matter
is ongoing.

He and wife Karen Kinsley claim exemptions in the Wisconsin Controlled
Substance Act allow for them to possess marijuana with a physician's

The couple spent some time discussing the statutes with police, who
ultimately declined to issue possession charges at the scene, and
instead deferred the matter to the Baraboo City Attorney Mark Reitz
for possible prosecution as a city ordinance violation.

Reitz said he has not yet reviewed the report, but stated after
examining the state statute, "If the person in possession of the
marijuana had a valid prescription, then that is valid in Wisconsin."

He also pointed out that the law requires a "valid prescription or
order of a practitioner."

"I have no idea if there is a valid prescription or any other details
of this case at this time however," he stated.

Baraboo Police Chief Mark Schauf said officers are following up on the
statements given to them by the Kinseys. "There may be charges, there
may not. We haven't gotten to that point yet."

Schauf said he could not release medical information involved in the
case, specifically whether the Kinseys had valid prescriptions to use

He also said the case has not impacted the way police enforce drug

"As police our job is to make sure we have all the information before
we make enforcement decisions," he said. "It is still illegal to
possess or use marijuana in Wisconsin."

He added Wisconsin doctors cannot prescribe marijuana for medical

"The Catch-22 is that THC is not identified as a therapeutic medicine
in Wisconsin and so it cannot be prescribed," he said.

Despite the legal disagreement, the Kinseys said they appreciated the
way Baraboo Police handled the matter.

"I thought it was awesome they listened to us," Karen Kinsey said. "I
don't know if the Oregon card or if a letter from your Wisconsin
doctor is any better than the other. I felt more like an activist than
a criminal."

Det. Drexler declined to comment, citing the open investigation, but
said the encounter was "very friendly." Sgt. Lee is on vacation and
could not be reached for comment.

"We had all agreed there was no urgency to the matter," Greg Kinsey
said. "I expect a letter saying they have decided to file no charges,
return my tiny bit of weed, and smile as I graciously shake their hand
in front of media, getting my medicine back. If charges are filed,
they will be fought. Even for an ordinance violation."

Storck and the Kinseys pointed to a 2004 Sauk County ruling in which
drug charges against Sun Prairie resident Cheryl Lam were dismissed.
Lam had moved to Wisconsin after obtaining a legal prescription for
marijuana as a California resident.

Schauf said that case is not relevant to whether a Wisconsin resident
can receive a legal prescription to use marijuana.

Storck says several other cases have quietly recognized or upheld the
legality of certain medical marijuana use in Wisconsin, citing
instances in Waukesha and Outagamie counties. Around 60 Wisconsinites
have valid Oregon permits, according to Storck. Oregon began issuing
out-of-state permits in 2010.

Still, there are major questions surrounding the use of medical
marijuana in a state that has not sought to change its laws amid a
groundswell of marijuana legalization, under varying circumstances,

"Wisconsin's law remains on the books as symbolic, with no means of
supply," Storck said.

The state Legislature has shot down repeated attempts to consider more
comprehensive medical marijuana reforms. As a result, the 1971 law
remains on the books with few restrictions or qualifying conditions.

"My read is that it is up to the physician's discretion as to if their
patient would benefit from cannabis, or if the patient has reported it
helps and the physician concurs that their condition has improved,"
Storck said.

A representative from the Wisconsin Attorney General's office did not
respond to a message seeking comment for this article.
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