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Montana Cannabis Industry Association President Steps Down in Wake of Drug Charges

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The president of the new Montana Cannabis Industry Association has stepped aside until felony drug charges against him are resolved.

Nathan Pierce briefly headed the group, which this week announced it had raised $50,000 in five days to fight pending restrictions on medical marijuana.

Pierce was arrested in February and charged with two counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs, as well as possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.

The charges stemmed from an Interstate 90 traffic stop and a subsequent search of Pierce and his car that turned up alleged dangerous drugs and four expired medical marijuana cards appointing Pierce as caregiver, according to court papers filed in the case.

"It's unfortunate. It makes it very difficult for us," said Kate Cholewa, a Montana Cannabis Industry Association board member.

Pierce had told the association about the case, "but it was something where he assured us that it was all going to be dismissed," Cholewa said.

"That gives me a chuckle," said Deputy Missoula County Attorney Andrew Paul. "The state's position is that we have probable cause for the charges and intend to proceed accordingly."

Public Defender Katie Green last week filed a motion on Pierce's behalf, contending that a Missoula County deputy sheriff overstepped his bounds when he asked for Pierce's driver's license after seeing his Honda stopped beside the road and Pierce walking away from it. When the deputy ran a check, he found outstanding warrants against Pierce from Lake and Missoula counties, according to the motion. Searches at the Missoula County jail turned up the items on which the charges against Pierce are based.

Paul's brief on that motion is due next week and Pierce has until May 31 to reply.

Pierce said this week that he's still on the cannabis association's board. His name is no longer on the group's website, however.

"We've asked him to take some time off the board until he gets that all figured out," Cholewa said. "If he made a mistake and that's what the court decides, that's what happens. ... We appreciate that he's willing to step aside until this is straightened out."

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: missoulian.com
Author: Gwen Florio
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: missoulian.com
Website: Montana Cannabis Industry Association president steps down in wake of drug charges
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