Colorado medical pot case proceeds

October 04, 2005

Mike McKibbin, Grand Junction Sentinel

A medical marijuana case against a Lakewood man appears headed to trial after a Garfield County District Court judge Tuesday denied two motions to suppress evidence.

Gene Brownlee, 36, was charged with growing and possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute. Brownlee told authorities he is allowed to smoke marijuana to control a chronic esophagus ailment. His wife at the time, Jennifer Ryan, was a licensed marijuana grower. She was arrested as well, but the case against her was dismissed in June when District Judge James Boyd barred much of the evidence.

Boyd ruled Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team officers improperly destroyed most of the 131 marijuana plants they found, a violation of the state’s Medical Marijuana Amendment, which orders officers to preserve plants from license holders until cases are resolved.

On Tuesday, Brownlee’s public defender, Jamie Roth, argued statements made by Brownlee should be suppressed because of a lack of details and probable cause in the affidavit for a search warrant, Deputy District Attorney Scott Turner said. District Court Judge Daniel Petre denied both motions.

Roth’s third motion to dismiss the case based on the destruction of evidence was taken under advisement by Petre, Turner said. If Petre denies that motion, Brownlee is scheduled for trial Nov. 28-30.

Brownlee and Ryan, Brownlee’s cousin Justin Brownlee and family friend Drew Gillespie were arrested last year. Gillespie pleaded guilty to cultivation charges and is on probation. Justin Brownlee is scheduled for arraignment on charges Nov. 10.

Mike McKibbin can be reached via e-mail at mmckibbin@gjds.com.



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