A legal battle in Oregon over what constitutes “usable weed” has ended with a case dismissal. 24 year old Josh Brewer and a cousin rented a house in Medford, Oregon to grow medical marijuana. Brewer did not want his medical marijuana around his wife, or three young children. They built a 14 foot fence around the backyard and grew 12 plants, six for each of them according to the Oregon Medical Marijuana program rules. Brewer said that police from a regional drug task force came to his door one day and asked to see his medical marijuana garden. He let them in because he said he always remains within the law. Two days later, at 1:30am, he heard his dogs barking and got out of bed to find Medford police at his door.
Officers were fine with the two pounds, 10 ounces that he and his cousin had grown, harvested and dried. Each patient is allowed a pound and a half for legal possession. They didn’t care about his plants, they too were within the limits of the state’s medical marijuana law. But they discovered two and a half more pounds of marijuana, recently harvested and drying on coat hangers suspended from the living room ceiling. Brewer was arrested that night, his drying cannabis seized and beginning a legal battle over what is personal use amounts and what is considered usable marijuana.
At the time, a motion to dismiss the case based on the usable definition was denied by a judge and Brewer had to serve 60 days in jail, and three years probation, putting him back on prescription pain pills for an injury he suffered in a construction accident. But last week, on appeal, the state attorney general’s office conceded that a 2007 Oregon Court of Appeals ruling had already established that marijuana drying on hangers did not qualify as ready to use. In the sate brief from Brewer’s appeal it said, “Without the hanging marijuana, there is no evidence that defendant possessed more than the lawful amount of `usable marijuana.” The Oregon law defines usable marijuana as the dried flowers and leaves from the plant, generally dry is assumed to mean dry enough to smoke since the law does not have a definition of how dry, dry is.
For now, Brewer is back to gardening but says he now takes a branch off at a time, just what he needs. He says that cutting down all your plants at once and hanging them to dry may put you over your limit and set you up for an opportunity to get busted. Brewer says that now his conviction has been reversed, he plans to sue the Medford police and city for $15 million, saying he is prepared for a fight.