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Feds seize 800 pot plants


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Federal drug agents seized 800 marijuana plants from three Denver-area homeowners, including two who are registered to grow the plants for medical purposes.

Federal Drug Enforcement Administration officers confiscated the marijuana plants late Tuesday from homes in Denver, Arvada and Adams County, said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.

The numbers of plants at each location exceeded the amount allowed by state law, Dorschner said. The operations were large-scale and sophisticated, he said.

Larisa Lawrence, spokeswoman for Caregivers for Safe Access, which serves patients authorized to use marijuana, said the DEA agents took 80 marijuana plants and 12 ounces of loose marijuana from her house.

She said that although she did not have all of her registration cards on hand, she can produce them.

"They thought they were going to get mini-drug lords, but that's not the case," Lawrence said.

The DEA is ignoring state law that allows caregivers like Lawrence to grow marijuana for medical purposes, said Ken Gorman, an activist who promoted passage of Colorado's medical marijuana law in 2000.

Although Colorado allows authorized patients to use marijuana for medical purposes, federal law still prohibits its use. The Colorado law allows patients and primary caregivers to possess up to six plants and 2 ounces of loose marijuana.

But Lawrence claims that she is allowed to have more plants because she is a caregiver providing marijuana for up to 32 patients.

The state, however, does not specifically allow for people to provide marijuana to patients authorized to use it.

Dorschner said agents are still investigating. No federal charges have been filed.

Gorman said he was at Lawrence's home for a birthday party when DEA agents arrived about 10 p.m. Tuesday and asked for permission to inspect the home. The agents then stayed for three hours.

"They came in and took everything they saw," he said. "It's a pretty big mess."

Thomas Lawrence, Larisa Lawrence's husband, said agents took about $5,000 worth of plants and equipment.

He said he persuaded federal agents not to take his "one-of- a-kind" collection of glass bongs and roach clips.

"When they take plants the biggest issue is, it takes six months to go from seed to smokable medicine," Lawrence said.

Lawrence said he has severe back pain and is in the process of getting a medical marijuana registration card.

Gorman said about 500 people in Colorado have medical marijuana registration cards.

Source: The Denver Post
Author: Kirk Mitchell
Published: June 03, 2004
Copyright: 2004 The Denver Post
Contact: kmitchell@denverpost.com
Website: http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~53~2188837,00.html
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