UPDATE: Jurors Tossed at Kitsap Marijuana Trial

Bruce Olson was arrested for growing marijuana at his Wiley Lane home in Olalla in May 2007.

It’s taken until this week to bring the case to trial in Kitsap County Superior Court, due to a lot of pre-trial motions from the lawyers involved. The trial, at first glance, may be lengthy as well.

According to the Cannabis Defense Coalition of Seattle, which has been diligently covering the beginnings of the trial, 49 potential jurors were dismissed Wednesday after Alexis Foster, deputy prosecutor handling the case, aired concerns to Judge Leila Mills of medical marijuana activists outside the courtroom.

Olson, along with his wife Pamela, held medical marijuana cards. But detectives with the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team in May 2007 raided their property and found 48 marijuana plants in an underground bunker. They said the number of plants exceeded the state’s 60-day supply rule allowed under the 1998 medical marijuana initiative.

Under a new Washington law, card-carrying medical marijuana patients can defend their use in open court if they have no more than 15 plants and up to 24 ounces of marijuana. if they believe their supply is within a “60-day supply.” A new Washington law establishes the presumptive amount at 15 marijuana plants and up to 24 ounces of marijuana.

But that law didn’t exist when the Olson cases were brought forth by the enforcement team — only a vague definition dubbed the “60 day supply.”

(Blogger’s note: I spoke with Alison Holcomb, drug policy director for the local office of the American Civil Liberties Union, who told me my original post was incorrect.)

The court will continue the case Thursday and bring in a fresh batch of potential jurors. I plan to cover the opening arguments of the trial — whenever they should end up occurring.

For a refresher on the medical marijuana issue in Washington state, click here. For the sentencing story of Olson’s wife, Pamela, click here. And for yet another medical marijuana trial in Kitsap, click here. Oh, and don’t forget about the guy stopped by the border patrol’s checkpoints.

20 thoughts on “UPDATE: Jurors Tossed at Kitsap Marijuana Trial

  1. “that law didn’t exist when the Olson cases were brought forth by the enforcement team — only a vague definition dubbed the “60 day supply.””

    A ’60 day supply’ of food for a 4 foot person is far less than for a 7 foot person.
    How can the “60 day supply” of medication, food, water possibly mean the same thing to all people?

    Let these people go…laws should be clear, not meant as playgrounds for lawyers.
    In my opinion… Sharon O’Hara

  2. Eleven years ago, the voters of Washington state legalized the use of medical marijuana for adults with a doctor’s recommendation.

    When that law was passed, I’m sure the voters meant to end the very kind of harassment of the sick that is occurring in this case.

    Bruce and Pamela Olson should never have been arrested, neither should ever have gone to trial, and Pamela certainly shouldn’t have been convicted.

    When will the prosecutors of Kitsap County start respecting the will of the people? When will the prosecutors stop wasting our tax money on prosecuting sick people who are following the advice of their doctors?

    This entire sad case is a fiasco, an embarrassment, and a very expensive boondoggle to boot.

  3. I’m thankful that the Kitsap County prosecutors respect, defend and enforce the law and not the will of some people. It’s up to our legislators in Olympia to listen to the will of the people and change/make the laws. THE PEOPLE elect Senators and Representatives to MAKE laws and THE PEOPLE elect the prosecutor to ENFORCE those laws wether they are “good” laws or “bad” laws. So, Sharon, Brandy and Steve, will I see you in Olympia as the legislature works on several bills to change the medical marijuana laws? Are you writing to Senator Rockefeller and our Representatives with your concerns so that they will HEAR the WILL OF THE PEOPLE or are you going to just keep on slamming the law enforcers for doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing? Or maybe you will join the activists who feel that the way to change is to intimidate and sway jurors who are instructed to find if a law made by lawmakers has been violated? Are taxpayers dollers being wasted on this case – you bet – by the WILL of SOME PEOPLE.

  4. Fedup, you suggested that others might “intimidate and sway jurors.” Do you consider the act of standing in a public place with a sign that reads, “Stop arresting medical marijuana patients,” to be such intimidation?

  5. “Fedup,” are you unaware of the medical marijuana law? What the Olsons were doing is legal. How does it equal “enforcing the law” to ignore the law?

    IBTW, the answers are “Yes,” I’ve written all my legislators about this, and “Yes,” I’m going to keep speaking out and “slamming law enforcement” as long as they continue to ignore the medical marijuana law, and “Yes,” I have already joined the activists — who aren’t out to “intimidate and sway” anyone, but simply to educate people on the abuses being carried out in the name of “law enforcement.”

  6. WASTE OF MONEY!!!!!!! the confidential informant was flown in and put up by the county so we are paying for airline tickets,hotel room,and food. for an informant that admits to having brain damage from heavy use of drugs and alcohol…..We know METH heads lie, but he admits he can’t remember!!!!!the fact here is the patient has stomach cancer and is going to DIE! but still we should listen to the meth head that can’t remember.

  7. I voted to legalized marijuana for medical purposes not realizing that I was voting against the Federal government law against it.
    I would not vote the same way again.
    Nor would I ever, under any circumstances, use it myself if using it meant inhaling smoke.

    In my opinion… Sharon O’Hara

  8. People become activists when they believe letters sent to elected representatives are ignored. The politician’s office space is a comfort zone where letters can be administratively processed behind the scenes.

    Maybe some day, the majority will want to go with individual responsibility rather than one size fits all government mandates.

    We are working hard to spread freedom across the globe – maybe we should take some of the filters off of freedom here at home. Those filters weren’t put in place by terrorists or foreign governments.

  9. Alex @9: Sending letters to elected representatives is a form of activism. Don’t be fooled by those who would prefer that the public look the other way and let themselves be ruled by corporate lobbyists — activism is not a dirty word.

    ac⋅tiv⋅ism
       /ˈæktəˌvɪzəm/ [ak-tuh-viz-uhm]
    –noun
    1. the doctrine or practice of vigorous action or involvement as a means of achieving political or other goals, sometimes by demonstrations, protests, etc.

    activism. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/activism (accessed: March 12, 2009).

  10. I am not saying activism is a dirty word. I am saying the letters get written- as they should be-but people can go on that way for years and become impatient about the urban legend called freedom.

  11. wow!! I would have never voted for it if I really thought it was illegal!??? Hint for Sharon: when you were voting for it, that would be plain english for being obviously illegal. Or a first grader might say, ” it’s illegal so I really wanted to vote it more illegal ?” If I were you I wouldn’t be smoking anything more either lady, sounds like your benzene and paint chip habit was plenty?

  12. Why am I not surprised the Kidnap Co. Persecuters office is afraid of public speach and is trying to cherry-pick a jury of sheeple that will toe the line and not consider fairness (or RCW 69.51a)?

    BTW, Sharon: The constitution of the late, great, US of A reserved rights not specificly granted to the federales to the states and the people (and never granted any federal right to prohibit any substance – aside from the *REPEALED* amendment prohibiting alcohol)

    Who benefits from prohibition? Gangsters, the Cocaine Importing Agency (CIA), the Drug price Enhancement Agency (DEA), the Medallin cartel, and other criminals but *not* the citizens…

    Simon says: Keep Marijuana Illegal – and tax-free
    Simon says: Grow some dope, plant a politition

  13. Get your facts straight and reread what I said, uncommonsense.
    Put down your pipe – after a few hours without puffing you might be able to reason and be civil at the same time.

    Thank you Phil M and SimonJester.
    I don’t pretend to know the answer to the drug problem but it should be changed at the federal level, not the state working in direct opposition to a federal law.
    Sharon O’Hara

  14. Sharon, I’ve heard reasonable arguments that this sort thing is not a power granted by the Constitution to the federal government. The federal government may be exceeding its legal authority.

    See “The Role of State Law Enforcement,” from Americans for Safe Access: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=183

    In that document, ASA expresses and backs the following claims:

    * States, not the federal government, are the principal purveyors of criminal codes. Congress’ authority to enact criminal laws is greatly circumscribed by the Constitution.

    * Only when federal and state laws directly conflict is federal law supreme. When there is no direct conflict, states retain the authority to legislate as they see fit.

    * States retain full authority to de-criminalize or de-penalize conduct as they see fit. The refusal of a state to criminalize or penalize conduct is fully consistent with principles of Federalism and does not conflict with federal law even when federal law criminalizes or penalizes the very same conduct.

    * It is the duty of sheriffs, as well as the district attorney to enforce state laws.

    * The federal government may not compel state law enforcement agents to enforce federal regulations.

    * The states, not the federal government, regulate medical practice and establish standards of medical care.

  15. “does not conflict with federal law even when federal law criminalizes or penalizes the very same conduct….”

    Phil M: If ‘penalizes’ means federal law can sentence a person breaking federal law… how does that work when the person resides in a state that allows the activity…such as the marijuana for medical purposes allowed in Washington?

    If the patient is getting benefit from it, what can happen if the patient leaves the state and continues the practice in another state?

    “The states, not the federal government, regulate medical practice and establish standards of medical care.”

    Shouldn’t medical care have established universal standards throughout the US?
    Why would medical practice and standards of medical care be any different for Oregon citizens than it is here for us in Washington?

    The War Between The States might not have come about had the states been in agreement…
    Sharon O’Hara

  16. Some people have very strong and impatient feelings about freedom.

    Our popular culture believes that we fight wars overseas for freedom. Some may not want to wait around for people in Washington DC to give us permission to apply individual responsibility in our daily lives. We have senators and congress-people who represent us in DC- they need to know what we expect and act on it-not let the federal government lead us around.

    Many issues are caught up between what citizens of any state may want vs. federal policy-

    Marijuana laws, marrying our gay lover (in recent years a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage has been proposed), concealed carry of handguns (may or may not be legal on National Parks lands), going to the bar and ordering beers with a 20 year old girlfriend, Federal Suspicionless Checkpoints and roadblocks as much as 100 miles from Canada and inland from the Pacific, etc.

  17. Sharon Ohara – The answer to every question: follow the dollar. Get the insurance companies out of the picture and you’ll have your established universal medical standards. Even Feds have lost interest in pot busts [unless you transport across state lines or grow with obvious commercial intent on federal land – duh]. Our schools have their own in-house Ritalin dispensaries and pharmaceutical companies are pushing drugs down our throats, even on TV, many of which are later recalled after [wups] failing to perform as promised [ie – killing us]. Marijuana is an age-old, naturally occurring, medicinal product providing proven relief to 10s of 1,000s without a cost-driving pharmaceutical patent, and has never killed a soul. Washington – grow up. Your people have spoken ~ 10 years ago [hello?]. Stop violating rights and your own law on the taxpayer’s dime. Invest in schools and health care systems to [re]gain ROI and some sense of decency.

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