Grand jury says no to prosecuting medical pot user on hash charge
November 08, 2007
The arrest of Anthony Beasley, 28, in October caused anger among some residents of Keizer. His 24-plant garden abutted a parking lot at McNary High School.
Beasley was evicted from the rental property the day of his arrest.
Police said they found PVC pipes in his home with a concentrate of marijuana, leading them to believe he was producing hashish, or hash oil.
He told police he was extracting the active ingredient of marijuana, known by the initials THC.
The grand jury considered a felony charge of manufacturing a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.
Its refusal means the case is all but dead, said Marion County Deputy District Attorney Courtland Geyer.
But he said prosecutors believe that distilling hash oil from marijuana is illegal, even for medical users.
"It would be a very bad mistake to interpret the result of this case as some broad declaration statewide of legality," Geyer said. "We have other indictments on this issue in Marion County, and we will continue to prosecute."
A lawyer who specializes in medical marijuana cases said the outcome was not surprising, and police bias against the legal users doesn't change the fact that the medical uses are legal.
"The grand jury was instituted as a civilian bulwark against out-of-control, executive authority as a protection," said Leland Berger, who didn't represent Beasley in the case. "When it issues a 'not true bill,' it's performing that historic function."
Keizer police Capt. Jeff Kuhns said the state's medical marijuana law is vague.
"There are people who have dug their heels in on both sides of this," Kuhns said. "I think the Legislature or whoever, needs to take a look at this law and better define some areas, this being one of them."