Rocky Mountain miracle
Thursday marked another victory for Colorado Springs' medical marijuana community, and another defeat for District Attorney Dan May and his team. After a nine-month legal battle, a jury found Ali Hillery, founder of local dispensary Rocky Mountain Miracles, not guilty of felony charges of cultivation and possession with the intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance.
During a March 19 inspection, the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division claimed to have discovered a 600-plus plant discrepancy between the number of plants at Rocky Mountain Miracles, and the plant allowance as defined by MMED records. After reportedly rejecting several plea deals that would have ended her family's business, Hillery and her defense team argued this was a minor bookkeeping error, as opposed to any of the major offenses — which alleged criminal intent — leveled against her.
Following what local MMJ advocate KC Stark called in a release "an aggressive offense"-of-a-defense led by attorney Sean McAllister, which called a veritable who's who of the MMJ community to the stand, a jury sided with the so-called "Granny of Ganja."
Hillery joins a slew of not-guilty verdict recipients, such as Bob Crouse, Elisa Kappelmann and Jesse Vriese. (Next up: Cannabis Therapeutics' Mike Lee, who faces similar charges this week.) And like some of them, she may go on to seek compensation for the confiscated plants. Stark reports that Rocky Mountain Miracles' lost plants and 36 pounds of cannabis caused "financial devastation."
• Though Amendment 64 is now signed into law (see here), the state of Washington officially beat Colorado to the legalization punch by enacting Initiative 502 last Thursday. From midnight of that day, of-age Washingtonians possessing up to an ounce of cannabis no longer did so illegally.
"Hundreds gathered at Seattle Center for a New Year's Eve-style countdown to 12 a.m., when the legalization measure passed by voters last month took effect," the Associated Press reported. "When the clock struck, they cheered and sparked up in unison."
• The Denver Post reports that University of Colorado President Bruce Benson sent an e-mail to alumni late Friday night, warning of dire financial consequences to the public university following 64's passage.
"Marijuana threatens to cost the university nearly a billion dollars annually in federal revenue ..." Benson reportedly wrote. "The glaring practical problem is that we stand to lose significant federal funding. CU must comply with the federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, which compels us to ban illicit drugs from campus."
According to the Post, legalization advocates led by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, were quick to claim that the amendment does nothing to prevent the university from continuing to ban marijuana from its campuses.