Washington Medical Marijuana Case Study

John Doe suffered from chronic intractable pain.  His illness was debilitating, painful, and unrelieved by standard medical therapies. For this reason, Mr. Doe was prescribed medical marijuana by a physician licensed to practice medicine in Washington.  In other words, Mr. Doe had a valid permit to use medical marijuana and to possess marijuana plants and dried marijuana for personal use. 

Mr. Doe had an acquaintance, John Roe, who also suffered from a debilitating medical condition, and also had a valid permit to use and possess marijuana for personal, medical use.  Mr. Doe and Mr. Roe agreed that Mr. Roe would provide medical marijuana for them both.  Mr. Doe drafted and signed a letter stating that Mr. Roe would serve as his designated provider of medical marijuana. 

To supply both himself and Mr. Doe with their prescribed dosages, Mr. Roe grew and possessed thirty marijuana plants.  Mr. Roe also possessed eight marijuana clones—four-inch to six-inch clippings taken from the marijuana plants and placed in soil.  

A police officer suspected that Mr. Roe was growing marijuana in his home, and obtained a search warrant.  When the police officer executed the search warrant on Mr. Roe’s home, Mr. Roe showed the officer his medical marijuana license, his designated provider license, and a valid Washington State driver’s license.  The police officer proceeded to seize all of Mr. Roe’s medical marijuana, which consisted of the thirty plants and eight clones, as well as 28.53 ounces of dried marijuana.  

The county prosecutor argued that a patient could not also serve as a designated provider and that clones constituted “plants” for purposes of determining the presumed 60-day supply allowed amount of medical marijuana.  According to the prosecutor, because Mr. Roe possessed 38 “plants” and 28.53 ounces of dried marijuana, which was 23 plants and 4.53 ounces over the presumed limit for a single patient, Mr. Roe was not entitled to assert the statutory affirmative defense of medical marijuana use.  Mr. Doe and Mr. Roe were charged with Manufacturing Marijuana and Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver under RCW 69.50.401.

Burkhart and Burkhart, PLLC, defended Mr. Doe against these criminal charges.  Andrea Burkhart contested the prosecutor’s interpretation of Washington statute and case law.  She argued that a patient could act as his own provider and as a designated provider, and that clones are not “plants” unless there is a readily observable root formation.  Ultimately, the prosecutor dropped all of the charges against Mr. Doe, and he resumed his lawful use of medical marijuana.

Walla Walla attorney Andrea Burkhart is qualified to assist you with your legal rights and responsibilities regarding medical marijuana in Washington. Contact Burkhart and Burkhart today.


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