Suspect in pot bust may sue Grand County
November 12, 2009
A medical marijuana caregiver in Grand County plans to sue Grand County for $612,400 worth of damages involving 163 marijuana plants seized by deputies on Oct. 3, according to a notice of intent to file a lawsuit.
The notice, prepared by attorney Sean McAllister of Breckenridge and Denver, says it was sent to the district attorney, the Grand County sheriff, the Grand County attorney, the commissioners and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office via registered mail on Wednesday.
Attempts to reach McAllister Thursday afternoon were unsuccessful.
Grand County Attorney Jack DiCola confirmed that the county had received the notice of lawsuit, though he noted that such notices often do not result in the filing of actual lawsuits.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Robert Love, 42, of Granby, and his wife Jeanette. Deputy Jon Nelson arrested Love upon pulling him over for speeding on U.S. Highway 40 near County Road 547 and finding eight containers of marijuana and marijuana concentrate Love appeared to be distributing, according to the Sheriff’s Office affidavit for his arrest.
Love had produced his seven-days-expired Medical Registry card for his own personal use of the drug, but at the time did not have documentation that he was a caregiver, according to the affidavit.
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According to Colorado law, individual caregivers can grow six marijuana plants per registered “patient.”
Nelson’s arrest and a subsequent interrogation led the deputy to obtain a search warrant for Love’s rented home.
At the residence, the deputy located two caregiver licenses issued to Love and his wife. For that reason, according to the affidavit, Grand County deputies seized 163 plants, but left 12 due to the licenses.
The report also states that Vicodin, a schedule II narcotic, and Valium, a schedule IV narcotic, were also seized from home.
As part of a laundry list of 13 charges such as speeding, lack of proof of insurance and violation of protection order and bond condition, Love was charged with possession of more than 8 ounces of marijuana, unlawful cultivation of marijuana, unlawful possession of narcotics, and intent to distribute with a prior conviction, according to the affidavit.
“If the Loves had the right to possess marijuana for 18 patients collectively, then the alleged … rooted plants in their possession were 100 percent legal,” states the notice of lawsuit.
Of the 163 marijuana plants, Love and his attorney claim at least 55 of them were “clones” that were either completely unrooted or poorly rooted.
“By destroying these plants, even though they were claimed to be medical marijuana, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office has violated the state Constitution,” McAllister’s claim states.
Estimated value per plant seized, according to the attorney, is $5,200. The defendant also seeks reimbursement for other personal items “seized or destroyed by the Grand County Sheriff’s Office during the raid,” states the notice of lawsuit dated Wednesday, Nov. 11.