Ruling aids grower of "medicinal" pot


Seattle Times staff reporter


There is good news and bad news for Joanna McKee and her Green Cross Patient Co-op, busted earlier this year on Bainbridge lsland for supplying what McKee says is "medicinal marijuana" to people she describes as patients.

The good news is that Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Leonard Kruse threw out the search warrant used in a May raid when police seized 162 marijuana plants from McKee's home.

"lf the warrant's no good, then all the evidence is out. If the evidence is out, then we have no case to prosecute," said Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Kelly.

The bad news for McKee is that it doesn't look like the county plans to return her marijuana, estimated by drug-enforcement officials to be worth about $300,000.

"You can't give contraband back. The police would then be guilty of delivery," said Kelly. "You can't give illegal drugs back to people."

McKee--the first medicinal-marijuana supplier in the country to be busted, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws-- said she's going to take Kitsap County to court.

About 70 patients with AIDS, multiple sclerosis, cancer and other illnesses who had depended on The Green Cross for marijuana have been on "basic rations" since the bust, she said.

"We are going after the county for damages and for all of our stuff back," she said."We were not convicted of a crime, and they have no right to take our edicine away. They said they took $300,000 worth of medicine away from us. think they owe us $300,000."

She said she would sue for an additional $200,000 for "pain and suffering ... and spending three days in jail with no medication for my back."

The judge ruled that the search warrant was invalid because it didn't limit the discretion of the officers, and didn't say which items were to be seized. Marijuana was never mentioned in the warrant, and no specific crime was alleged. In addition to McKee, other defendants included Ronald "Stitch" Miller and John Devin, who lived in the same household.

"We're thrilled," said Andrew Subin, McKee's attorney. "We knew there were problems with the search warrant; we're glad the judge saw those problems."

Kelly said his office had not decided whether to appeal the ruling.

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