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Illness Is No Excuse

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
He may be frail and dying, but that does not give 39-year-old Jack Branson the right to grow a hefty crop of marijuana in his backyard, an Adams County prosecutor said Monday.

"He's a great guy, and you might feel sorry for him," prosecutor Trevor Moritzky told jurors. "But in the end, you must find him guilty."

Branson faces charges of cultivation of marijuana and possession of more than 8 ounces of marijuana, both felonies. Branson's trial began Monday in Adams County District Court with police testifying they found 14 plants - some 8 feet tall with stalks 4 to 5 inches in diameter - growing in the backyard of his Thornton home.

Other marijuana plants and pot-growing paraphernalia were discovered in his house, which officers searched in October 2004.

Branson claims he is allowed to grow and use the pot under Colorado's medical marijuana law. Doctors can recommend marijuana for patients they believe would benefit from it.

Branson's lawyers contend a physician verbally recommended in 2002 that Branson use marijuana to deal with the effects of the HIV virus he has lived with for 20 years.

But when he was issued a summons by police in October 2004, Branson was not registered with the state as a medical-marijuana user.

Tyrone Streno, a member of the North Metro Drug Task Force, testified that Colorado's medical marijuana law allows a patient to have six plants and 2 usable ounces of marijuana.

Branson had more, and he had no written records of being a medical marijuana patient, Streno said.

"He did not meet the criteria for that amount of marijuana," Streno said, adding the pot was about 50 pounds.

Thornton police officers testified the plants were in plain sight of passers-by and that Branson slept in a tent in the backyard to keep people from stealing them.

They told jurors they found two grocery bags of marijuana leaves, dried pot in his living room, pot in his medicine cabinet and a digital scale.

A closet had ultraviolet lighting to cultivate marijuana plants, said former Thornton officer Tanya Hayes.

"He said he had a terminal disease, and he was using pot for medicine," Hayes said. "He said he was in the process of getting a prescription for it."

Branson's team is expected to put on its case today.

Prosecutors have said they will not seek jail time, but Branson could lose his Medicaid or Social Security benefits if convicted of a felony.

News Hawk- User http://www.420Magazine.com
Source: Denver Post
Author: Monte Whaley
Contact: mwhaley@denverpost.com
Copyright: Denver Post
Website: The Denver Post - Ill man's marijuana broke law, jurors told
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