Medical marijuana case takes new twist

February 24, 2007

Sara Reed, The Coloradoan



Defense attorneys in what is being called a “test case” for the caregiver provision of Colorado’s medical marijuana law are asking the District Attorney’s office to remove itself from the case.

On Monday, Chief District Court Judge James Hiatt will hear arguments from Brian Vicente — defense attorney for Lisa and James Masters, a Fort Collins couple who face marijuana cultivation and distribution charges — that prosecutors in the case, as well as the whole office, should be removed from the case because of impropriety.

The Masters were arrested in August when police came to check on the welfare of their children and found the marijuana plants.

The children were removed from the home but have since been reunited with their parents.\\

The couple has said they were medical marijuana patients as well as caregivers for other medical marijuana patients, which allows them to possess and grow limited amounts of the drug under Amendment 20 of the Colorado Constitution.
However, a judge refused to dismiss the charges last year, saying the couple did not have the proper documentation.

Vicente contends that prosecutor Tom Lynch, one of the deputy district attorney’s handling the case, snuck into a class open to defense attorneys on how to defend medical marijuana patients.

Vicente, who was giving the presentation, said Lynch’s actions constitute impropriety, which is grounds to remove him and the office from the case.
“He was not authorized to be there,” Vicente said in a phone interview Friday. “I feel the actions of the District Attorney’s office sneaking into the class were not appropriate.”

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