Spokane WA: Medical marijuana dispenser convicted
Category: News | Posted on Fri, March, 18th 2011 by THCFinder
A Spokane jury rejected arguments Thursday that the state’s medical marijuana law allows for commercial dispensaries, convicting a supplier of multiple drug trafficking charges.
Scott Q. Shupe, who co-owned one of the first marijuana dispensaries in Spokane, argued the state’s medical marijuana law enables dispensaries to supply card-carrying patients, provided they serve just one patient at a time.
Prosecutors disputed that interpretation, arguing that the medical marijuana law, approved overwhelmingly by voters in 1998, makes no provisions for commercial dispensaries.
The case was being watched closely by authorities and dispensary operators alike, with both sides hoping that the jury would provide guidance for what many argue is a confusing state law.
In Spokane, Mayor Mary Verner said earlier this week that she supports medicinal use of marijuana, but she’s concerned about the rapid increase of dispensaries in Spokane neighborhoods. “I don’t want to have our community allow the cover of being in business for medical care to be really just a way to just dispense pot that otherwise would be illegal,” Verner said.
Defense attorney Frank Cikutovich said his client routinely kicked out patrons who tried to buy pot without proper authorization. He indicated the case will be appealed in an effort to clarify the language of the law.
“Their fate lies with the prosecutor’s decision whether or not to shut them down,” he said, referring to other dispensaries. “They want to be legitimate and give medicine to those who need it.”
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