Veteran challenges arrest under medical-marijuana law

June 14, 2007

, Associated Press

A former Marine who said marijuana helps him deal with injuries suffered during Operation Desert Storm is challenging the state’s medical marijuana law.

Kevin Dickes, 38, of Aurora pleaded not guilty Thursday in Arapahoe County District Court to marijuana cultivation after police said they seized 71 plants from his home on April 27.

He faces up to six years in prison if convicted. A hearing on a motion to dismiss the charge is set for next month.

Dickes says marijuana helps ease the pain in his right leg since a grenade landed next to him in 1991 while he was serving in Kuwait.

Under Colorado’s medical marijuana law, approved by voters in 2000, patients under a doctor’s care who get a medical marijuana card may legally possess up to 2 ounces of pot or six plants. However, a provision in the law could allow for more plants.

“In general, what happens is the individual has testimony from a physician that their particular condition warrants the additional amounts,” said Ron Hyman, registrar of vital statistics for the state health department. “Whether the judge buys it or not is up to the judge.”

Dickes’ attorney, Robert Corry Jr., argued there is no limit to the number of plants a person may cultivate for use as long as they are “medically necessary.”

District attorney’s spokeswoman Kathleen Walsh said she could not discuss an ongoing case but that prosecutors believe there is enough evidence to proceed.
Dickes is one of about 1,300 holders of medical marijuana cards in Colorado, according to the state.

Dickes said he continues to use marijuana obtained through the black market. He is free on $6,000 bond.



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