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Medical Marijuana User Found Guilty

Lord Mong

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A man who hoped Colorado's medical-marijuana law would allow him to use pot to soothe his disease-ravaged body is now a felon.

That doesn't sit well with his mother, who seethed outside of an Adams County District courtroom after jurors Wednesday convicted her son - 39-year-old Jack Branson - of cultivation of marijuana, a felony.

"I saw a child abuser last week get convicted of the same class of felony as my son, and that child abuser is a danger to this community," said Margaret Branson, who watched her son hobble down a hallway using a cane.

"You tell me," she said, "how is this possible?"

But the nine-woman, three-man panel also cleared her son of a second felony charge of possession of more than 8 ounces of marijuana.

The decision to acquit on one marijuana charge and convict on another was "irrational," said Branson's attorney, Robert Corry. He asked Adams County District Judge Thomas Ensor to overturn the guilty verdict.

Ensor refused and sentenced Branson to one year of unsupervised probation. He faced six years in prison.

The verdict will be appealed, said Corry, adding jurors seemingly reached a puzzling compromise.

"The charges against him were all or nothing," Corry said. "This makes no sense."

Jurors couldn't be reached for comment.

Corry argued that Branson - who suffers from AIDS and hepatitis B - received oral recommendations from doctors over the past several years to use medicinal marijuana. The drug eases his nausea and allows him to take his medications and to eat, Corry said.

However, Branson never received a written recommendation.

Police in October 2004 arrested Branson after finding 14 8-foot-tall pot plants, a scale and several bags of dried marijuana at his Thornton home.
Prosecutor Trevor Moritzky told jurors Branson had in his possession far more pot than allowed under the state's medical-marijuana law - which generally stipulates one can have three flowering plants, three replacement plants and 2 ounces of the drug.

"This was a production facility," Moritzky said. "He had far more than he needed."

Adams County District Attorney Don Quick said he never wanted Branson to serve any prison time. "We have no problem with anyone using medical marijuana under the law," Quick said. "We just want to see it applied correctly."

News Hawk- Lord Mong 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: The Denver Post
Author: Monte Whaley
Contact: mwhaley@denverpost.com.
Copyright: 2007 The Denver Post
Website: The Denver Post - Medical marijuana user found guilty
 
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