Medical pot provider arrested

October 22, 2007

Ruth Liao, Salem Statesman-Journal

A Keizer medical marijuana provider living next to a school was arrested Friday after police found evidence that he was manufacturing hashish, or hash oil, an illegal substance, police said.

Anthony Wyatt Beasley, 28, was arrested Friday afternoon in Keizer on a Class A felony charge of unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school, said police spokesman Capt. Jeff Kuhns.

"We think he's crossed the line," Kuhns said.

Beasley's house in the 5100 block of Newberg Drive N is adjacent to McNary High School's parking lot.

On Wednesday, a former roommate returned to the home to collect some of her belongings and became alarmed when she saw objects made of PVC pipes on a living room coffee table, Kuhns said. Thinking they were pipe bombs, the woman called police.

A Salem bomb squad responded and a bomb robot detonated one of the PVC pipes, Kuhns said.

Inside the pipe, police found a concentration of marijuana, which led police to think hashish or hash oil was being made, which is illegal, Kuhns said.

That night, Beasley told police on the phone that the tubes were not pipe bombs and that he was extracting tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, from his medicinal marijuana.

Police obtained a search warrant Friday morning and forced entry into the home at 1:30 p.m., Kuhns said. At the same time, Beasley's landlord was having eviction papers served.

Police seized evidence of illegal drug manufacturing, which included the PVC pipes and ground-up marijuana found inside, Kuhns said. Police did not seize other plants and marijuana that Beasley is entitled to under the state medical-marijuana program, Kuhns said.

Keizer police knew of Beasley's medical-marijuana license and plants from an unrelated disturbance in September, Kuhns said. Beasley was growing 24 marijuana plants for himself and three other medical-marijuana cardholders.

On Oct. 10, Keizer police investigated a neighbor's report of an armed person, Kuhns said. Police searched Beasley's home but did not find any firearms. Beasley then told police that nine of his plants had been stolen earlier that evening, Kuhns said.

Sandee Burbank, the chairwoman of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program advisory committee, said she didn't know the particulars of Beasley's situation, but added that more than 17,000 participants in the state program must adhere to strict regulations.

"People who are breaking the law, they're breaking the law," Burbank said. "It's a real fine line."

Burbank, who also is executive director of Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse, a nonprofit that advocates against drug abuse, said clinics and other programs try to provide new medical-marijuana providers and patients with resources and information to stay within the law.

"People that are going outside the law, that's a huge risk that they're taking," Burbank said.

rliao@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 589-6941

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