“Today was a forward step towards hemp for victory,”
declared Seattle resident Jeanne Ferguson Tuesday on the steps of
the Kitsap County Courthouse.
Ferguson, who founded organization “Gramma’s for Ganja,” came to Port Orchard to hear the verdict in the trial of Bruce Olson (left). And she certainly wasn’t the only one who watched as Olson was acquitted on two felony counts.
“I’m appalled the prosecutor’s office feels the need to waste this much money prosecuting medical marijuana patients when there’s plenty of real crime in Kitsap County,” said Kingston resident Steve Elliot, another advocate. Elliot also penned a lengthy post that spans the trials length. And I’d encourage you to vote on our new poll, at right.
The Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office maintains it was trying a man and not the medical marijuana law.
“There are some cases you have to put before a jury and let them
decide,” Kitsap deputy prosecutor Alexis Foster told me. “We thank
the jurors for doing their job, considering all the evidence, and
coming back with a verdict.”
In any case, the debate is impassioned. There are 85 comments on our story about the jury verdict.
In the end, the case showcased the murkiness of the medical marijuana law. Qualifying patients in the state are backed by a voter-approved mandate that they may possess a “60-day supply.” But the federal government has banned the plant outright, and they still face possible prosecution from both the feds and local governments, who may take them to task on how much pot they have. They are, however, less likely these days to be federally prosecuted, after an announcement by the new attorney general.
Many medical marijuana advocates outside the courthouse Tuesday called Bruce Olson’s case a victory for such patients. Without a doubt there will be more trials in the future where medical marijuana is used as a defense in court. In fact, some blogs are writing that one in Kitsap is not far off.
The Department of Health was to have cleared up this medical marijuana law mess by establishing a 15-plant, 24-ounce “presumptive” limit. But has it really? In my mind, the jury is still out on that question. The issue, as we said in 2007, still “clouded in confusion.”