Marlowe says marijuana charges will be fought

November 19, 2007

Leah Justice, Tryon Daily Bulletin (NC)

Medical marijuana advocate Jean Marlowe says recent  marijuana charges against Steve Marlowe will be fought and the fight will cost the taxpayers of this county thousands of dollars.
Jean Marlowe wrote a letter to the editor (see pg. 8) saying that she is one of the patients for whom Steve Marlowe grows marijuana. She questions the informant that the Polk County Sheriff’s Office used to execute warrants and says the county faces potential lawsuits in the case for unnecessary destruction of one property and abuse to another individual, who was hit with a gun, knocked out and had to spend the night in the hospital.
Last Tuesday night, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office executed search warrants at the home of Steve Marlowe on Coopers Trace Road in Sunny View, where officers seized about 60 marijuana plants being grown there, according to sheriff’s office reports. Steve Marlowe was charged with maintaining a vehicle/dwelling/place for a controlled substance, manufacturing marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He appeared in Polk County District Court last Wednesday; the case was continued until Dec. 12.
Although only Steve Marlowe was charged last Tuesday, Jean Marlowe says her advocacy for the use of medical marijuana has resulted in her being arrested and prosecuted in the past. She uses marijuana medicinally because she was born with a defective liver, which makes her allergic to any type pain reliever.  Several of her cases in the past (in 1996 and 1998) have been dismissed by the district attorney or reduced to a misdemeanor. Her most recent case in Bryson City in May was also dismissed.
She says 14 states have now passed laws to protect patients and when this case is over she will work for N.C. Legislation to protect patients and their caregivers from prosecution. She says Congress has passed the “Right To Be Pain Free Act,” which provides some protection on a constitutional level.
In her letter, Jean Marlowe questions the tactics used to execute the warrants against Steve and says the sheriff’s office did not find large amounts of marijuana and cash as the informant had advised.
But sheriff’s officers say there were 60 plants with special lights and that the growing operation was one of the biggest and most professional they’d seen.
Polk County Sheriff Chris Abril says the informant was local and his office was simply trying to do its job and enforce the law.
“(Marijuana) is still illegal in North Carolina,” Sheriff Abril said. “All we are doing is trying to do our jobs and enforce the law.”

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