Marijuana case dropped; woman has Calif. prescription for pot

December 17, 2004

, Associated Press

BARABOO, Wis. -A Wisconsin judge has tossed out a marijuana possession case because the defendant had a California prescription to have the pot for medical reasons. 'I've been doing this for 17 years and this is the first such prescription I've seen,' said Assistant District Attorney Kevin Calkins, the prosecutor in the case.

Medical marijuana is illegal in Wisconsin, but possession is allowed if the patient has a valid prescription from a practitioner licensed to prescribe the drug.

Calkins said the defendant, Cheryl A. Lam, 53, of Sun Prairie, displayed the proof of her prescription in court, and Sauk County Circuit Judge James Evenson dismissed the case. Phone listings for Cheryl Lam and her attorney Charity Reynolds could not be located.

Calkins said he doubted the Dec. 13 ruling would affect future cases because legal precedent isn't established on the circuit court level, and his office does not plan to take the case to appeals court.

But Gary Storck, a spokesman for the Madison chapters of Is My Medicine Legal YET? and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said he was excited to hear what happened.

'I think any time that a judge rules that a person has the right to use their medicine in the state of Wisconsin, it's significant,' he said.

Court documents filed by Lam's lawyer said she had a medical card signed by a California doctor who was licensed to prescribe marijuana as medicine.

California and 10 other states have laws that allow the use of medical marijuana.

Court records show authorities at Devil's Lake State Park arrested Lam July 31 after they responded to a fight between her and her three sons at her campsite.

Lam turned over two plastic bags of marijuana and a pipe. She had 3 grams in her possession, court records show.

Lam began to use medical marijuana after being bitten by a Brown Recluse spider in 1995 and having a severe reaction, including lesions over all of her body, according to court documents.

A Chinese medicine practitioner used herbs, including cannabis, to treat Lam, and in 2000 she went to California doctor Tod H. Mikuriya, who prescribed medical marijuana, the documents show.

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