ELLSWORTH, ME — A licensed Ellsworth medical marijuana caregiver says he’s happy his stolen plants have been returned by police, though he says he’ll only be able to save 15 percent of the crop.
Thomas Davis told the Bangor Daily News that once the 17 plants were taken last week, there was very limited time before they were damaged. Davis says that’s because the growing plant is extremely susceptible to mold when it’s outside the greenhouse.
Police say 32-year-old Aaron Pert of Trenton cut two openings in the greenhouse last Wednesday and took the plants, worth an estimated $12,800.
Pert had been charged early Thursday morning with possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and possession of marijuana. After Davis reported the burglary, police questioned Pert, who admitted to stealing the plants, according to Lt. Harold Page.
Police say Pert later told them where he’d put the plants.
But police didn’t give the plants back until Saturday, due to initial concerns about violating federal law, under which medical marijuana is illegal.
Ellsworth Police Chief John DeLeo made the decision Saturday to return the plants to Davis. On Monday, DeLeo said returning the marijuana to Davis was legal, as far as he was concerned.
Davis is a state-licensed caregiver for three patients and also uses marijuana himself to treat chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia.
Although Davis lost most of his plants to mold, leaving him and his patients only a month’s supply of medicine, Davis sees a silver lining to the story.
He also said he hopes Ellsworth’s decision to return the plants will set a precedent for future local police departments to view medical marijuana the same way they’d view any other stolen medicine they recovered.