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Marijuana not returned

GRAMNET gives back man's growing equipment but not drugs

Susan Cunningham

Medicinal marijuana user Don Nord, 57, has his growing equipment back.

But he’s still waiting for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to give him 2 ounces of the drug and smoking pipes that a county judge ordered be returned earlier this month.

That likely won’t happen, officials from the administration said last week.

The growing equipment was returned by Matthew Harmon, a Grand, Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team officer. GRAMNET is a federal task force made up of officers who searched Nord’s Hayden home in mid-October.

“I’m glad I got this stuff back,” Nord said. He said the 1,000 watt light bulb and grow light ballast that were returned were borrowed from a friend and were worth about $1,000, a cost he would not have been able to pay.

Along with the bulb and ballast, Nord’s license to grow marijuana in Colorado, packages of rolling papers, electric timers, light cords, fluorescent bulbs and a scale were returned.

Conspicuously absent from the list of items returned: three marijuana plants, usable marijuana and smoking pipes, all of which also were seized.

“I’m also disappointed that they didn’t give me what I need back,” Nord said. “I’m having a real tough time here.”

Nord, who has battled kidney cancer, diabetes, a lung disease and other illnesses, is registered with the state’s Medical Marijuana Registry program. He said that he does not use Marinol, a legal pill-form of marijuana, because it is not strong enough and doesn’t work.

According to state law, marijuana can be grown and used by people with certain medical conditions. But under federal law, the drug is illegal.

At a hearing earlier this month, Routt County Judge James Garrecht ordered that the drugs and equipment be returned by Dec. 29.

Attorney Kristopher Hammond, who represents Nord, said if Nord’s “medicine” is not returned in the allotted time, the officers would be disobeying the court order.

“This is like a bank robber returning the bag but keeping the money,” Hammond said.

Hammond said that if the officers do not return the marijuana, “we’ll have to take them to court.”

Dan Reuter, a field agent and spokesperson for the Denver field office of the DEA, said last Friday that the marijuana would be destroyed.

Nord was issued a citation for the possession of between 1 and 8 ounces of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia after the search. Those charges were dismissed, Garrecht said, because the citation was filed late.

Nord had more than 2 ounces of usable drug, officers said, so also was out of compliance with the state rule.

The case could be appealed or sent to a federal court if the administration and other federal agencies decide to take it further.

— To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com


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