Just when you think the saga of leukemia sufferer (and medical marijuana patient) Bob Crouse has ended, it pulls you back in. Finally able to return to normalcy after winning his protracted trial with the help of the public defender's office, and then winning the return of his marijuana, seized as evidence, with the pro-bono help of attorney Clifton Black, Crouse is confronting a final hurdle: repayment.
The Independent has learned that on Dec. 27, Black and attorney Charles Houghton filed suit against the city of Colorado Springs for its failure, via the police department, to maintain the marijuana as required in Amendent 20. Though Black declined to elaborate on the case's details at this time, it has come out previously that the roughly 60 pounds of seized crop — some 55 plants and 6.5 pounds of matter — were worth around $307,000.
It became an issue after Crouse was arrested in May 2011, and charged with possession and distribution of marijuana. When police collected the plants as evidence they cut them down, as opposed to just taking clippings. The problem is that the constitutional amendment, passed by Colorado voters in 2000, says, "Any property interest that is possessed, owned, or used in connection with the medical use of marijuana or acts incidental to such use, shall not be harmed, neglected, injured, or destroyed while in the possession of state or local law enforcement officials."
"I'll be very brief," says Black. "We just feel that our client should be compensated for the damage to his property."
City Attorney Chris Melcher's office has said Melcher will be available for comment later in the day; this post will be updated when we hear back.
For more on Crouse, see our 2011 profile here; our story detailing the string of losses District Attorney Dan May has experienced with recent MMJ cases (which include Crouse's June acquittal, and Ali Hillery's acquittal in December) here; and everything else related here.