Owners of a now-closed medical-marijuana dispensary who are facing federal charges for allegedly running an unlicensed grow warehouse say they received state permission to move 1,200 cannabis plants into the warehouse. Ha, Hai and Nathan Do argue in court filings that officials with the state Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division gave the OK for the family to transport 1,200 marijuana clones from their dispensary to the warehouse in northeast Denver. Clones are baby marijuana plants. When federal agents raided the warehouse in October, they announced they seized more than 1,100 plants. The three Do family members, along with a fourth man, Richard Crosse, face two charges each of possession with intent to distribute more than 1,000 marijuana plants. The approval by the MMED — coming in four OK’d “medical marijuana transportation manifests” — is a key element in several motions filed by the Dos last month seeking to have the charges against them thrown out. The Dos argue they are victims of “entrapment by estoppel,” wherein government officials mislead people about the law, then arrest them for breaking the same law. “Though medical marijuana may be a relatively new area of the law, the tactic employed by law enforcement in this case is the same dirty feet in a new pair of shoes,” attorney Ariel Benjamin, who represents Ha Do, writes in one of the motions.
But prosecutors fire back that the warehouse was not a state-licensed medical-marijuana growing facility and the transportation manifests — which the MMED says it didn’t have time to scrutinize because of an overwhelming number of such requests — do not provide legal cover. Authorities have alleged in court documents that the Dos were selling marijuana into the black market. “The Dos not only had a propensity to commit a federal crime but were committing federal crimes daily at their dispensary and … grow sites,” prosecutor M.J. Menendez wrote in a response. “They were certainly not entrapped.” The October raid on the warehouse, at 3885 Forrest St., followed a June raid by Denver police at the same warehouse. In that raid, authorities confiscated about 1,800 marijuana plants. Federal and MMED agents were present at that raid, according to the Dos’ motions. No charges were immediately filed from the raid, and the Dos argue that they tried to bring the Forrest Street warehouse into compliance with state laws, which prosecutors dispute. Prosecutors also deny that federal and state law-enforcement agents and state medical-marijuana regulators were working as a team on the investigation — a crucial component of the Dos’ argument that state authorities entrapped them for the feds. The Do family owned Earth’s Medicine dispensary on Federal Boulevard in Denver. State regulators shut down the dispensary after the Dos were charged. A hearing on the Dos’ motions has not yet been set.
via : denverpost
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