Medical Marijuana Case Prompts the Question: How Much Is Too Much?

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Bags of pot found at the home of John Gordon Reed and Karen Leann Mower.
This month's trial of John Gordon Reed and Karen Leann Mower confirms that there's still a lot of confusion over the state's medical marijuana law.

On April 2, a Mason County Superior Court jury found the Shelton couple guilty of manufacturing marijuana but not guilty of intent to deliver. Both Reed and Mower, who have medical marijuana authorization, are dying of Hepatitis C, according to their attorney, Doug Hiatt. The prosecution asserted that they had more pot than is allowed for their personal use.

Hiatt notes that the jury didn't buy the notion that Reed and Mower were dealers, yet also didn't let them off the hook for growing a lot of pot. He doesn't know what to make of the verdict.

How much exactly did they produce?

When Mason County Sherriff's deputies raided the couple's home in January 2008, they found 2.2 pounds of bagged marijuana and 74 plants (as well packaging materials and $3,000 in cash).

By today's standards, Reed and Mower would be considered under the limit of bagged pot (24 ounces per person) but over the limit of plants (15). But at the time of their arrest, the law didn't specify how much pot medical marijuana users were allowed to possess.

Current law allows for exceptions to the limit if people can prove they need more, as long as the amount they have is consistent with a 60-day supply. Hiatt says a doctor testified that they needed more pot because they consumed it by mashing it up and putting it in food.

But the jury didn't have any sympathy for that argument.

Reed and Mower are scheduled to be sentenced on May 10. Hiatt, however, has asked for a stay of the sentencing while he appeals the case.

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