Another Colo. pot grower faces criminal charges
DENVER – Another Colorado pot grower faces criminal charges after showing authorities marijuana plants he thought were permitted under the state’s medical marijuana law.
Officers said they found 292 marijuana plants, some 6 feet tall, along with packages of marijuana and pot-infused cookies and candies at a Larimer County home and an inn near Fort Collins owned by Robin Jones.
Newly obtained court documents state Jones was high when he consented to the search more than a year ago and bragged that he was a full-time pot grower with eight strains under cultivation.
Jones, 61, also noted he was a medical marijuana caregiver. He produced patient cards to back up his claim but not enough to justify the amount of pot authorities found on his properties, according to the documents.
Jones was charged with illegal cultivation and distribution and scheduled for a court appearance Thursday.
Larimer County authorities issued an additional warrant Tuesday for the arrest of Jones, adding other drug counts along with charges of violating his bail and attempting to influence a public servant.
Attorney Rob Corry, who represents Jones, insisted Jones was following state medical marijuana rules.
Corry also argues that evidence gathered during the search of Jones’ properties shouldn’t be permitted because a sheriff’s deputy noticed Jones was under the influence of drugs before consenting to the search. Johns told officers he’d been smoking pot earlier in the day, according to court documents.
“It has to be a knowing intelligent waiver of rights,” Corry said.
The case bears some resemblance to the prosecution of Chris Bartkowicz, who faces federal drug charges involving a basement growing operation detailed on a news report by a Denver TV station.
Like Jones, Bartkowicz also allowed the search, apparently believing he was compliant with state medical marijuana law.
Deputies said they went to Jones’ home after receiving a tip that he had a large marijuana growing business. Officers previously learned from a utility that Jones was using an unusually large amount of electricity, information investigators use to find indoor pot-growing operations.
In the Bartkowicz case, a federal judge is mulling a government request to ban Bartkowicz from using state law in his defense.
Separately, Jones faces forfeiture proceedings by the federal government for the pot, growing equipment and some $23,000 in cash found in the August, 2009 raids.
Jones does not face federal drug charges, and the forfeiture proceedings are on hold pending the resolution of the criminal case in state court.
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