Dude, we got our pot back - but it's moldy

December 03, 2007

Julie Poppen, RockyTalk Live, Rocky Mountain News (CO)

James and Lisa Masters pulled a broken 2-foot glass bong, large sacks of moldy marijuana - a total of 39 dead plants - and a small, usable quantity of the drug from the back of a white minivan.

The public display of illicit drugs in the parking lot of the police department Monday morning marked a critical step in a 16-month saga that began with the Masters being busted for growing pot in their home.

Supporters view the return of the substantial amount of marijuana as a precedent for how law enforcement agencies comply with the state's voter-backed medical marijuana laws.

"This is a historic day," said Brian Vicente, one of the Masters' attorneys and executive director of Sensible Colorado, a drug policy reform organization.

Vicente said this was the largest quantity of medicinal marijuana ever returned to a grower since voters backed the law in 2000. Attorney Robert Corry Jr. called the return of the pot "a victory for the voters of Colorado" and "a victory for compassion."

"I'm hoping this sends a message to police departments around Colorado that the Constitution is the highest law of the state and voters put it in there for a reason," Corry said.

Not everyone is convinced of the significance of Monday's action, though.

Larimer County District Court Judge Larry Abrahamson said the city attorney filed a request Wednesday to have the ruling reconsidered, but it was shot down. City Attorney Steve Roy could not be reached for comment.

Abrahamson said he was hoping a higher court would offer clarification on how federal drug laws - which ban the cultivation and use of cannabis - intersect with the state's implementation of medical marijuana laws.

­ Should the state make it easier for people to grow medical marijuana? Should the Masters be able to recoup the value of the pre-moldy pot from the state (the couple's attorney values it at $100,000)

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