Springs cops return man’s marijuana after legal ordeal

Bob Crouse drove away from the Colorado Springs police annex on East Rio Grande Street Friday afternoon with a huge smile on his face and his hand raised in victory. A crowd of about two dozen medical marijuana supporters cheered loudly moments after police returned 60 pounds of now-wilted pot once worth an estimated $300,000 to the leukemia patient. “Today I’m so very grateful and so very thankful,” said Crouse with tears in his eyes. “We want all patients to have access to their medicine. That’s what this is all about.”

Crouse was acquitted in June of drug charges and has been fighting the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and police ever since to have the pot returned. Police confiscated 55 plants and 6 pounds of refined marijuana from Crouse’s home in May 2011. The marijuana was returned wrapped in clear plastic and sealed brown paper bags. Crouse and his attorney Clifton Black said they were going to take the pot to a “secured facility” to have it examined and determine how much is still usable.

Black said any damage to the pot “sets up the possibility that there may be some civil liability for the city.” When asked if he will file a lawsuit against Colorado Springs, Crouse said, “I certainly don’t want to sue the city, for heaven’s sake.” The issue of liability was raised Nov. 9 during an emergency hearing in front of 4th Judicial District Judge Timothy Schutz over the return of the pot. During the hearing the city attorney’s office expressed concern that Crouse would sue over damage to the pot which had been held by police for a year and a half.

Schutz upheld his order and Crouse and Black were poised to pick up the pot on Nov. 9 when a Colorado Court of Appeals judge granted a temporary stay of the document. Crouse also tried have his pot returned Nov. 2, but police refused citing orders from the DA. On Thursday, the Court of Appeals ruled that police had to give Crouse his marijuana back even if the District Attorney’s appeal is heard.

Crouse and Black have preached that the cancer patient’s trial and quest to get his pot back have all been a waste of taxpayer’s money. When asked what alternatives police have to holding marijuana plants during prosecution, Black said, “Other jurisdictions in Colorado do not seize the property.” He said cops take photographs and samples instead. “If they’re going to seize the property, they should have a green house,” Black said.

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