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Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Court Returns Pot

A small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia was returned by Jefferson County authorities Tuesday to a medical marijuana caregiver who was issued a summons at Mount Falcon Park earlier this year.

Anton Marquez, 29, walked out of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday afternoon with the seized items, ending what Brian Vicente, executive director of Sensible Colorado, said was an ordeal of six months for Marquez.

Marquez provides marijuana to his father and brother, who suffer from epilepsy. He also takes it himself, he said, because of a brain tumor.

"I believe marijuana is the quintessential realization of the term life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Marquez said.

Vicente said Marquez appeared in court four times on a summons that charged him with possessing less than an ounce of marijuana and possessing paraphernalia.

Each time he told the prosecutor that he was a medical marijuana caregiver, presented a copy of his Medical Marijuana Registry card to the prosecutor and told the prosecutor she should dismiss the case, Vicente said.

"The law could not be more clear - that when presented with a medical marijuana caregiver card or a patient card, the case is to be dropped," Vicente said.

Finally, Vicente said, Marquez went to Sensible Colorado.

"I met with the prosecutor and I said, 'Listen, you have to drop this charge. You have no case,"' Vicente said. "And she said, 'Oh, OK, I guess you are right. We are not going to bring charges.' And ultimately, a judge agreed."

The judge, Roy Olson of Jefferson County Court, also ordered that the seized items be returned.

Pam Russell, spokesperson for the Jefferson County district attorney's office, said prosecutors moved for dismissal of the case because Marquez had a Medical Marijuana Registry card, which meant he could legally be in possession of the small amount of marijuana he had in his car and there was no evidence he had been smoking the marijuana.

The Denver Post