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Feds Balk At Order To Return Medical Marijuana

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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) A Colorado judge has ordered authorities to
return two ounces of marijuana to a man who says he needs it to help ease
cancer symptoms, but federal officials are resisting.

At issue is the growing gulf between federal laws which forbid marijuana
cultivation or possession, and some states like Colorado where it is
allowed for certain medical uses.

"The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is not in the habit of returning
illegal contraband," DEA spokesman Dan Reuter told News 4 partner the Rocky
Mountain News.

The case began when someone told authorities Don Nord was growing marijuana
in his home. A task force of officers got a search warrant in October and
seized the plants, one to eight ounces of marijuana and his lights and
growing equipment.

Nord, 57, of Hayden, has battled cancer and diabetes and suffers chronic
pain and from the state of Colorado obtained a certificate allowing him to
use marijuana for medical reasons.

Despite that, the officers gave him a ticket for misdemeanor possession
that ordered Nord to appear in Routt County Court on Nov. 4.

But the government lost its copy of the ticket and failed to file it in
court by that date so Routt County Judge James Garrecht dismissed the whole

Then Nord's lawyer, Kristopher Hammond, asked Garrecht to order Nord's
three marijuana plants, his marijuana and his equipment returned to him.

On Monday, Garrecht ordered the feds to give it back within 21 days.

Colorado voters in 2000 had approved the medical use of marijuana in an
amendment to the state Constitution. But the federal government says its
law trumps the state's constitution.

Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the Colorado U.S. attorney's office, said his
staff will now review the county judge's order for the return of the

DEA officials also have said Nord's three marijuana plants probably are
dead, since agents uprooted them when they were seized.

Nord, meanwhile, is pleased with his court victory, Hammond said. "He's
looking forward to the return of his property and his medicine."