Jury finds ill man guilty in pot case

August 31, 2007

Bill Scanlon, Rocky Mountain News

A Thornton man with several debilitating conditions didn't get the verdict he wanted when an Adams County jury found him guilty of cultivating marijuana - but not guilty of possessing more than 8 ounces of the drug. Jack Branson, 39, and his attorney, Rob Corry, argued that because Branson, who is HIV- positive and has hepatitis B, needs marijuana to help him with his pain - and had gotten a verbal recommendation from a doctor - it was irrelevant that he hadn't filed the proper medical marijuana forms with the state.

But Deputy District Attorney Trevor Moritzky and his boss, Adams County DA Don Quick, said Thursday that Branson had to follow the law.

"We have a lot of compassion for Mr. Branson in this," Quick said. "We don't have any objection to the medical marijuana law. We just want it to be followed as written."

Colorado is one of 14 states that allows the medical use of marijuana under strict regulations. After getting a doctor's recommendation, patients can pay $90 and apply for an ID card that says they have permission to grow a small amount of marijuana or more if medically necessary.

After the verdict, Moritzky asked the judge that Branson serve no jail time.

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