Medical marijuana grower given probation

Sometimes it’s not better to be ahead of the crowd.

A man who admitted to growing more than 100 marijuana plants for medicinal use was sentenced Monday to two years of supervised probation.

Neal Robert Buell, 49, previously pleaded guilty to attempted production of marijuana – a class-six felony and possession of drug paraphernalia – a class-one misdemeanor.

Detectives from the Department of Public Safety initially discovered about 120 small marijuana plants consistent with those used for medicinal purposes after they conducted an aerial recognizance mission Sept. 2, 2010, over Buell’s residence south of Pima on Cluff Ranch Road.

Buell allegedly told the detectives he grew the cannabis for himself and his 94-year-old father. He also grew a number of plants for a friend at a secondary location near his house.

Arizona voters passed Proposition 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, on Nov. 2, 2010. The act allows patients to possess and use cannabis as medicine, to cultivate up to 12 plants at a time if the patient lives more than 25 miles from a dispensary and allows caregivers to cultivate cannabis for up to five patients.

Buell was growing medical marijuana two months prior to the act’s passing. He was sentenced three days before the enactment of the law. The Arizona Department of Health Services began accepting patient and caregiver registry card applications at 8 a.m. on April 14. The first medical marijuana patient card was issued at 8:30 a.m. to a 60-year-old man from Scottsdale who is living with Crohn’s disease.

While supervised probationers are generally subject to random urine analysis for drug use, because the court believed Buell would likely qualify for an Arizona medical marijuana patient registry card, he will not be charged a UA fee. Instead, his doctor will provide UA results to the probation department. If Buell receives his patient card, however, the probation department will not be able to revoke his probation due to a positive test of marijuana’s cannabinoids because Buell will be legally allowed to use the substance as medicine. In that case, the marijuana use would be treated the same as if a probationer was prescribed a narcotic.

Judge R. Douglas Holt took a moment to admonish Buell about sharing his medication with others. In addition to other requirements, medical marijuana patient applicants must sign an attestation that they will not share their medicine with others who are not registered with the state.

via : Eastern Arizona Courier

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