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U.s. Court Snags Pot Fight

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U.S. authorities moved a conflict between federal and Colorado marijuana
laws to federal court Friday, snatching it from a Colorado county judge who
has threatened federal agents with criminal contempt for not returning
marijuana they seized from a licensed medical user.

At issue is federal law that prohibits possession of marijuana under all
circumstances, and Colorado law, enacted by voters in 2000 as an amendment
to the state constitution, that allows its use for certain medical reasons.

Federal law trumps state law on marijuana, and the federal law recognizes
no legal use of marijuana, federal authorities say. The marijuana - about 5
ounces - was seized late last year from Donald Nord, 57, of Hayden.

Nord has battled cancer and diabetes and suffers chronic pain. He showed
the officers his Colorado certificate allowing him to use marijuana for
medical reasons, but the officers ignored it.

They gave Nord a ticket, charging him with the misdemeanor crime of
possessing marijuana. The ticket ordered Nord to appear in Routt County
Court on Nov. 4, 2002. But the government lost its copy of the ticket and
failed to file it in court by that date. Routt County Judge James Garrecht
dismissed the case and ordered the marijuana returned.

Pubdate: Sat, 24 Jan 2004
Source: Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)
Copyright: 2004, Denver Publishing Co.
Contact: letters@rockymountainnews.com
Website: Rocky Mountain News - A vital source for news and information in Denver and the Rocky Mountain area.