Thursday, February 18, 2010
Victory In Washington: Jury Finds Medical Marijuana Patient Not Guilty
By Steve Elliott in Toke of the Town
Once again, a jury has seen through the lies and distortions and found a medical marijuana patient not guilty.
Washington state jurors Thursday afternoon found Cammie McKenzie, who grows marijuana to treat her chronic back pain, not guilty of all charges in a case where prosecutors tried to portray her as a drug dealer.
The prosecution's unsuccessful case was notably nasty, even for a medical marijuana arrest in a state where some law enforcement officials have been slow to adjust to the legalization of medicinal cannabis passed by voters in 1998.
"This case is not about medicine. This case is about money," Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor Matthew Baldock said in his opening statements Tuesday. "The defendant was masquerading as a marijuana patient and was in reality a drug dealer, no question."
One can only imagine the incensed reaction of Snohomish County's good voters when they realize their scarce tax dollars are being wasted on foolishness like this.
Prosecutors and narcotics detectives claimed McKenzie, 24, was using her medical marijuana authorization as a front for an illegal pot farm at her home in Bothell, Washington, reports Diana Hefley of the Everett Herald Net.
McKenzie said that prosecutors based their case on the word of her former roommate, a "known drug dealer" who was promised he wouldn't be prosecuted if he testified against McKenzie.
Jurors ultimately didn't buy the prosecution's claims and declared McKenzie not guilty of manufacturing marijuana, which is a felony.
Baldock called two witnesses, both detectives with the Bellevue-based Eastside Narcotics Task Force in his case against McKenzie.
Defense attorney Natalie Tarantino asked the judge to throw out the charge against McKenzie due to a lack of evidence, including the state's failure to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that her client is, in fact, the person charged with the crime.
Superior Court Judge George Appel denied that motion, instead allowing Baldock to bring a detective back on the stand to testify to the defendant's identity.
Jurors were shown a copy of a driver's license picturing Cameron Scott Wieldraayer. That was the defendant's name before she changed her gender and her name. The detective identified the person on the driver's license as McKenzie.
McKenzie herself took the stand Wednesday, testifying at length about marijuana growing methods. She currently runs an Internet business selling growing equipment.
The defendant explained how medical marijuana alleviates her symptoms. Marijuana "stops the brain from acknowledging the pain," allowing her to function, she said.
McKenzie told jurors she consumes up to a quarter-ounce a day. She adamantly denied that she was selling marijuana or using her grow operation to make a profit.