FORT COLLINS, CO — A medical marijuana grower who is suing the Larimer County, Colorado, sheriff claims investigators failed to check the state registry to confirm the 42 marijuana plants destroyed following a drug raid were legal.
Kaleb Young was arrested and his plants and equipment seized during a September 2010 drug raid, even though he was in compliance with state law and had paperwork to prove it.
Young was charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession with intent to manufacture or distribute less than 5 pounds of marijuana, and possession of more than 12 ounces of marijuana.
Young was acquitted of all criminal charges in November 2011. After the acquittal, the sheriff’s office returned some of the property, but none of the plants or marijuana.
His attorney, Rob Corry, is asking $5,000 for each destroyed plant, a total of $210,000, based on sheriffs’ estimates of the plants’ value when they were seized.
When Young was arrested, deputies took numerous documents, including information on patients for whom Young was a caregiver, into evidence.
“The only action deputies failed to perform was to check the registry to determine whether Young was a registered medical-marijuana patient and caregiver,” Young’s attorney, Rob Corry, said, adding that the seizure of the plant’s is a violation of his client’s civil rights.
The lawsuit cites language from the Colorado Constitution indicating marijuana and paraphernalia seized by “state or local law enforcement officials from a patient or primary caregiver in connection with the claimed medical use of marijuana” must be returned on acquittal.
“Throughout December 2011, Mr. Young repeatedly attempted to enforce, through counsel, the District Court order that required the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office to return property previously seized from his residence, including 42 medical marijuana plants,” the lawsuit reads.
“Typically, the agency will preserve the plants as they’re required to do under the constitution,” Corry said. “Here, they just straight-up cut them down and destroyed them.”