Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 2015
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2015 The Denver Post Corp
Author: John Ingold


The Arrest Was a Test Case on the Validity of Concentrated-Pot Laws.

Denver prosecutors Friday dismissed all charges against a man whose 
arrest became a test case for whether the state's laws against making 
concentrated pot are still valid.

Paul Mannaioni, 24, was arrested last year in connection with a 
marijuana hash-oil explosion. He had faced felony charges of arson 
and manufacture of marijuana concentrate.

In a brief motion Friday, the Denver district attorney's office asked 
for the charges against Mannaioni to be dismissed because "the People 
are unable to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt."

Hash oil is a potent goop made by dissolving marijuana's active 
chemicals from the underlying plant material. Some production methods 
use highly flammable solvents.

Mannaioni was one of three people charged in connection with a 
hash-oil explosion on Lipan Street a year ago. He had argued that 
Amendment 64, the recreational marijuana measure, legalized the 
processing of marijuana plants - thus making the state's law against 
manufacturing marijuana concentrate unconstitutional. The state 
attorney general's office disagreed.

After a lengthy hearing, a Denver judge rejected Mannaioni's 
constitutional argument. But Mannaioni's attorney, Rob Corry, said he 
probably would have raised the question more specifically again at 
trial. He believes prosecutors were wary of convincing a jury that 
making hash oil is a crime.

"That's what we probably would have prevailed on at trial," Corry said.

DA's office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough disagreed. Instead, she said, 
prosecutors were concerned they couldn't convince a jury that 
Mannaioni was present at the crime.

"As the case went forward, we were unable to put Mr. Mannaioni in the 
hashoil production part of that," she said.

Prosecutors also dismissed charges against one of Mannaioni's 
co-defendants. Another co-defendant pleaded guilty, Kimbrough said.
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