An appellate court Friday reversed the conviction of a Fairbanks woman
found guilty in 1998 of felony possession of marijuana plants because the
jury considered dead remnants -- stalk and root ball -- of her previously
harvested plants when reaching its decision.

Authorities had seized 19 live marijuana plants and 33 containers of
marijuana stocks and roots from Carol V. Pease's house, according to the
decision by the Alaska Court of Appeals. During her trial, the jury was
told the 33 containers of dead plants were considered "plants of the genus
Cannabis" for purposes of law, and that it didn't matter if the plants were
dead or alive, according to the appellate decision.

Pease was convicted of possessing more than 25 marijuana plants, a felony,
and appealed the decision to the higher court.

During the appeal, state attorneys argued that the word "plant" means those
alive and dead. The court of appeals disagreed.

"When someone asks a gardener how many tomato plants they have in their
garden, the person posing this question is normally not seeking information
about the number of stumps of dead plants remaining from previous years,"
wrote appellate court Judge David Mannheimer, author of Friday's decision.

The court of appeals decided that when the marijuana possession law was
changed in 1994 by the state Legislature, making it a felony to possess
more than 25 marijuana plants, lawmakers targeted people with living
plants. Pease had only 19 living plants, which would have constituted a

The law doesn't specify what stage of maturity the marijuana plant must be
in, the decision says, but "makes sense only in the context of living plants."

Newshawk: Sledhead -
Pubdate: Sat, 21 Jul 2001
Source: Anchorage Daily News (AK)
Copyright: 2001 The Anchorage Daily News
Author: Molly Brown
Bookmark: (Cannabis)