Portsmouth marijuana grower handed 15-year term
A 30-year-old man will serve 15 years in prison for crimes related to a marijuana grow operation police found in the garage apartment of a Churchland residence.
David L. Patterson Jr. pleaded guilty in December to possession with intent to distribute marijuana, maintaining a fortified drug house, a related weapons charge and possession of a police scanner during the commission of a crime.
A detective said at Monday's sentencing that the estimated worth of the marijuana plants found in an apartment above a detached garage was about $87,000.
Police searched the garage and the house and confiscated six weapons, including three assault rifles - some loaded. Detective Tim McAndrew showed the judge those weapons Monday, as he had at a prior bond hearing.
He explained how officers are trained to take cover behind the engine block of their car to protect themselves if fired on by one of the rifles because
conviction, and state sentencing guidelines called for a five-year sentence. Prosecutor Ed Ferreira asked the judge to exceed that and said the case was anything but typical.
He said Patterson had an "elaborate and ongoing" grow operation in a fortified house that was run for pure profit.
Patterson's lawyer, Eric P. Korslund, asked the judge not to exceed five years, arguing that his client had accepted responsibility, had no prior felonies and that a co-defendant was just as culpable.
Mary Usry, 40, who lived in the residence, is scheduled to be tried May 23 on charges of possession with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm with drugs.
Patterson's lawyer questioned the value that detectives put on the marijuana plants - based on an estimated profit of $1,000 from each of the 87 plants.
Circuit Judge Johnny E. Morrison gave Patterson a total of 28 years, suspending all but 15 and running time on some of the charges concurrently. He will serve 10 years' supervised probation upon release.
Why I Still Give My 11-Year-Old Marijuana
(NEWSER) – Marie Myung-Ok Lee has been giving her autistic 11-year-old son medical marijuana for two years now, and judging from some of the responses she’s received from people who read her columns, “I will not be up for Mother of the Year any time soon,” she writes on Slate.
But she doesn’t care about that as much as she cares about the fact that her son woke up the other day “and wanted a hug—the boy who formerly woke us with a scream of pain. The boy who, since he was 3 years old, never gave us hugs or let himself be hugged, because he couldn't bear to be touched.”
In addition to allowing him to avoid the powerful psychotropic drugs—and their serious side effects—normally prescribed in similar circumstances, her son’s medical cannabis regimen has allowed Lee and her family to enjoy trips to the beach, the farmers’ market, and the zoo.
“[We] can actually enjoy each other, rather than being held hostage by his autism in a house full of screams, destruction, and three very unhappy people,” she writes. Of course, there have been setbacks, but there have also been triumphs—like when her son finally learned to ride a bike—and she’s ready to call the marijuana treatment “a qualified success.”
MT judge issues order against medical marijuana overhaul
On Friday, shortly after legislation essentially banning medical marijuana in Montana took effect, a judge said ‘not so fast’ and signed an order temporarily stopping some parts of the law from being enacted.
Medical marijuana proponents have vowed a fight in a state where well over 60 percent of voters approved legalizing medical marijuana. They were able to raise $50,000 in just a few days, using the money to hire one of Montana’s top constitutional lawyers.
The judge’s ruling only suspends the new law’s ban on advertising medical marijuana products, most of which are set to become illegal in July.
Marijuana proponents say the new restrictions, passed recently by the legislature, would effectively ban medical marijuana in the state, in spite of voters’ wishes.
Medical marijuana proponents in Montana say one of the biggest problems with the new rules is that restricts caregivers to providing marijuana to only three patients, and prohibits them from charging the patients for the marijuana. Patients can also grow their own, but for many that is impractical.
People who were using the law as cover for recreational use will likely go back to buying on the street, but many who do have medical conditions which are alleviated through the use of medical marijuana will be out of luck.
R.I. judge upholds gun rights of medical-pot growers
PROVIDENCE — A recent Cranston case that tested the state’s medical-marijuana law raises a question about whether people with the right to grow or possess marijuana to treat illnesses risk being jailed for owning a gun, even if they own it lawfully.
The issue grew from Dean Derobbio’s arrest in January 2010 for allegedly conspiring with his roommate to possess marijuana with the intent to sell it. He was also charged with carrying a dangerous weapon while committing a crime of violence. The crime of violence was growing marijuana, according to prosecutors and the police, and the charge carries a mandatory three years in prison for a defendant convicted of a first offense.
The police charged Derobbio’s roommate, Joseph Joubert, with conspiracy and possessing marijuana with the intent to deliver.
Derobbio held a patient card issued by the state Department of Health to use marijuana to treat severe pain caused by ruptured disks in his back, and he legally owned a 9mm pistol he kept in his nightstand, according to his lawyer, Michael F. Campopiano. Joubert had a primary-caregiver card, allowing him under the state’s medical-marijuana act passed by lawmakers in 2006 to grow marijuana for Derobbio.
The law spells out how much marijuana a person can grow and possess, but says nothing about guns. It, too, does not specify whether a patient can have two caregivers growing marijuana for him, as Derobbio did.
Superior Court Judge Robert D. Krause seized upon those omissions in tossing out the charges earlier in May.
“In my opinion,” Krause said, “this is a poorly drafted statute, and I don’t think ... a defendant ought to be criminally liable for inartful draftsmanship.”
He rejected the state’s argument that Derobbio could be pursued on the gun charge even if the court found he had the right to possess the marijuana and the pistol.
“If I were to find that there was nothing unlawful about what these defendants had done by way of the medical-marijuana statute, and that they were within the framework of the statute, and did not exceed the amount of plants that are authorized, would you still pursue the prosecution [of the gun charge]?” Krause asked Special Assistant Attorney General Michael McCarthy at the May 4 hearing.
“With all due respect, your honor, I would,” McCarthy said. He explained that he would prosecute it under a law that says you cannot legally grow marijuana while being in possession of a firearm.
“And, your honor, if you are cultivating marijuana, and if you are in possession of a firearm, even though [the medical-marijuana act] has stated you can grow marijuana, it is silent as to whether or not you can possess a firearm,” McCarthy said, according to a transcript of the hearing.
Krause continued, “If you meet the requirements, if you have possession of plants that are within the legal limit under this marijuana act, and if you have a firearm at home, and you’re not a convicted felon, both of these are legal, yes?”
“Yes,” McCarthy said.
“But, nonetheless, you claim it’s criminal conduct.” Krause said.
“As is being intoxicated in possession of a firearm,” McCarthy said.
In the end, Krause found that the 33 mature plants being grown at the 101 Marlow St. house by Joubert and his mother, Marie Joubert, fell within the legal limits of the medical-marijuana law since caregivers can have 24 plants apiece.
Throw me in jail, marijuana minister tells court
A man who promotes marijuana as a church sacrament asked to be sent to jail Monday rather than serve a community sentence.
Shahrooz Kharaghani, 32, was found guilty of trafficking marijuana and hashish in a Queen St. E. neighbourhood.
If sentenced to house arrest he would immediately smoke pot to commune with God, violating a condition to “keep the peace and be of good behaviour,” his lawyer told a sentencing hearing.
Such a violation would mean going to jail, so he might as well go to jail straightaway, lawyer George Filipovic argued before Ontario Superior Court Justice Thea Herman.
“These are not typical sentencing submissions,” Herman said from the bench, apparently taken by surprise.
Kharaghani and co-accused Peter Styrsky, 53, call themselves ministers in the Assembly of the Church of the Universe, which they say serves 4,000 congregants across Canada.
For Styrsky, also convicted of trafficking in a case dating to 2006, both sides argued for a six-month sentence, which would amount to immediate release because of time served in pre-trial custody.
For Kharaghani, Crown prosecutor Nick Devlin was recommending a six-month community sentence, which would likely involve one or two months of house arrest and afterward a curfew.
“It is very unusual that the Crown would be saying the jail sentence should be served in the community,” Devlin said outside the courtroom, “but in this case we don’t think Mr. Kharaghani is somebody who needs to be behind bars.”
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