Nevada Judge Asked to Dismiss Pot Charges

By: News Staff Email
By: News Staff Email

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Nevada judge said Friday he needed time to
review grand jury transcripts before he decides whether the state's
medical marijuana laws are too vague to allow charges to stand against six people arrested when police raided a Las Vegas storefront marijuana dispensary last November.

Clark County District Court Judge Doug Smith told lawyers for Jolly Green Meds owners Daniel Kinshella and Sean Kinshella and
four co-defendants that he wanted to focus on whether the evidence
leading to the indictments handed up in May was "fair and proper."

"It all goes to the intent of the people running the store," the judge said.

Attorney Marc Saggese, representing Sean Kinshella, candidly
noted that Smith's ruling could create a "domino effect" for people who want the state Legislature to address what medical marijuana proponents call inconsistencies in state law.

On Monday, another Clark County District Court judge, Donald Mosley, threw out charges in a separate but similar medical marijuana criminal case. Mosley declared that he couldn't make sense of Nevada's medical marijuana laws.

Voters in 2000 passed a state constitutional amendment letting
medical cardholders grow and possess small amounts of marijuana.
But other state and federal laws make it illegal to buy or sell it.

Prosecutors on Wednesday obtained new indictments in that case,
charging Sin City Co-Op owners Nathan Hamilton and Leonard Schwingdorf with multiple counts of sale of marijuana and trafficking in a controlled substance.

Attorney Michael Cristalli pleaded Friday with Smith to also tell the Legislature the law was "overbroad and vague."

Smith said he wouldn't be guided by Mosley's ruling.

Charges in the multi-count indictments against Daniel Kinshella, Sean Kinshella and Christine Kinshella, Kimberly Simons, Jesse
Moffett and Ryan Bondhus include felony conspiracy, sale of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana. The three
Kinshellas also face felony trafficking in a controlled substance charges.

Prosecutor Tina Sedlock told Smith that state law is clear that selling marijuana is prohibited. She characterized Jolly Green Meds
as "a drug trafficking organization."

Lawyer Robert Draskovich, who represents co-defendant Simons in
the Jolly Green Meds case and Hamilton and Schwingdorf in the Sin
City Co-Op case, said the storefront dispensaries accepted donations but didn't require payment.

Draskovich said a videotape seized by police the day that
warrants were served at Jolly Green Meds showed one customer being given marijuana for free.

Draskovich said the grand jury wasn't fully informed that the undercover police officer who reported buying marijuana displayed a
medical card and signed a written acknowledgment that the marijuana was for medicinal purposes and wasn't for sale.

"As unclear as it is, they're following the law the best that they can," the defense lawyer said.


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