Medical marijuana case to go to trial

August 03, 2006

Greg Puit, Las Vegas Review-Journal

 medical marijuana advocate is scheduled to go to trial next week in District Court on charges that could land him in prison for up to three years.

On Thursday morning, Pierre Werner, 35, asked District Judge Stewart Bell to dismiss drug charges against him, but Bell denied the request, meaning his case will be presented to a jury next week during a felony trial.

Werner, 35, and his attorney, Ryan Mortier, were reluctant to comment on the specifics of the case at the Regional Justice Center after Bell's decision.

However, they said they are confident that jurors will conclude that Werner's possession of more than 30 marijuana plants was legal and also a philanthropic endeavor aimed at helping provide marijuana to the seriously ill in Nevada.

"If a licensed physician gives you permission to use medical marijuana and you are unable to grow your own, then I feel as a medical marijuana patient, I should be able to share this medicine," Werner said.

Clark County prosecutors and Las Vegas police, however, contend Werner -- who uses marijuana to treat a bipolar condition -- clearly broke Nevada law by running what amounts to a drug distribution operation from his home.

Police in January 2004 found at Werner's valley home 34 mature marijuana plants, 11 immature marijuana plants and more than 2 ounces of marijuana leaves.

Nevada voters in 2000 gave approval for the use of medical marijuana in the state.

Under Nevada law, the state's licensed marijuana patients can keep an ounce of marijuana on hand. They can grow seven plants, but only three can be mature.

Patients are allowed to grow their own marijuana or get it from a designated caregiver. Each caregiver can have one licensed patient.



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