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Dispensary Owners Need More Proof


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A Pierce County judge ruled Friday that the owners of a Tacoma medical-marijuana dispensary fighting to reclaim pot seized during a police investigation would have to do more than flash their medicinal-cannabis authorization forms to prove they’re qualified to possess the confiscated product.


Superior Court Judge John Hickman did not spell out exactly what Guy Casey and Michael Schaef would have to do to convince him they are allowed to possess marijuana. But he rejected their arguments that their authorization cards should be enough.


“I could not rule that the card alone would solve the issue and prove the requirements of the statutory compliance,” Hickman said. “I think there is a material issue of fact as it stands right now as to whether or not the parties qualify as qualified patients.”




Lawyers for the men argued last month the authorization forms are enough to prove their clients have standing to possess marijuana and that it’s a doctor’s job – not a judge’s – to make that call.


Hickman said he’s seen no evidence that the person who signed Casey’s and Schaef’s cards is in fact a physician qualified to make such authorizations or that the medical conditions they claim to suffer from meet the threshold set by state law.


“All of these things must be proved by the preponderance of the evidence” to establish they have standing to ask for their pot back, Hickman said.


Casey and Schaef now face the prospect of bringing their doctors and/or medical records into court to back their contentions they’re authorized to possess medical marijuana.


Hickman said he couldn’t force them to do so. State law guarantees the confidentiality of medical records.


Casey and Schaef could choose to waive those rights in this case. If they do, their attorneys likely would ask Hickman to seal the records and possibly close his courtroom to the public during doctors’ testimony.


The judge hinted he probably would grant such a request.


“They will be afforded the same protection as in any other civil case,” Hickman said.




The judge said he didn’t treat the question lightly, that he studied case law and carefully considered the briefings filed by attorneys on both sides.


Marijuana remains an illegal substance in Washington, but the Legislature has provided a loophole of sorts for some medical patients to possess limited amounts of pot for use as medicine, Hickman said.


“Acknowledging that the law surrounding the cultivation, prescription and use of marijuana for medical purposes in the state of Washington is in constant flux, this court is charged with interpreting and enforcing the law to the best of its ability at the time the issue is before it,” the judge said in a preamble to his ruling.




A hearing for Casey and Schaef to prove their bona fides has been scheduled for December.


More fighting remains even if they prove to Hickman they’re qualified to possess medical marijuana. They also would have to prove the police no longer have an interest in the seized pot and that it should be returned to them.


Casey and Schaef, who operated Club 420, were arrested in May 2010 after agents with the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team raided their dispensary and Casey’s home.


Prosecutors charged the men with several drug crimes, and detectives seized 85 marijuana plants and 11 pounds of harvested pot. Prosecutors later dismissed the charges when they discovered credibility issues with a confidential informant who was crucial to their case.


Casey and Schaef then made motions for the return of marijuana and other property seized during the raids.




Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/09/03/1807887/dispensary-owners-need-more-proof.html#ixzz1X1zQDbTw




and they are still at it sounds like the same story here

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