Cops slip up on medical marijuana
August 04, 2006
Felisa Cardona, Denver Post
Not many people go to the Denver Police Department to pick up bags of marijuana, but Thursday a police officer handed Larisa Lawrence about 2 ounces of the drug.
"It's squished," she said, scrunching her nose and pressing down on the red evidence bags. "It's just not the same."
Late Tuesday, Lawrence's marijuana was seized by Denver police during a traffic stop even though she produced proof that she was allowed to carry it under the state's medical marijuana law.
Lawrence, 30, and her husband, Thomas, are caregivers who run a medical-marijuana support center in Denver. The couple said they are also patients allowed to use marijuana for medical purposes under a doctor's approval.
The police returned the marijuana Thursday after the couple had their lawyer, Robert Corry, contact the Police Department.
Corry says this is the second time the couple has had their marijuana confiscated and later returned by the Denver police.
He says the same thing has happened to six more of his clients.
Corry suspects there are more users of medical marijuana around the state who have had problems with police.
"I can't imagine how they would not know this is the law," Corry said. "Police officers take an oath to uphold the laws of Colorado. Obviously, this is a severe gap in their training."
Corry has offered to hold an educational seminar about Amendment 20 for law enforcement officers so that the law does not continue to be misunderstood.
Denver police Detective John White said the Lawrences did not have the proper documentation with them during the traffic stop, as they claim.
The law, enacted in June 2001, allows people with specified ailments to use marijuana for medical purposes.
Hundreds of Coloradans have obtained medical-marijuana registry ID cards through the state's Department of Public Health for ailments such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, muscle spasms, severe pain and nausea.