Marijuana advocate has growing supplies returned | News
COLFAX, WA - The Whitman County Sheriff's Office this morning returned property that was seized during a raid on a marijuana advocate's home in May of 2011. Judge David Frazier ordered Friday that the property must be returned, including 82 marijuana plants, dried marijuana, paperwork, and cell phone that were taken from the Colfax home of Michael Assenberg by the Quad Cities Drug Task Force.
Assenberg was charged with manufacturing a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver, and two counts of delivery of marijuana, but the Whitman County Prosecutor's Office dropped the felony drug case against him early last month after the State Court of Appeals overturned a similar case in Spokane County. Assenberg claimed he was growing the plants for distribution to people with medical marijuana cards as a licensed dispensary for the State of Washington, but officials claimed that state law said a medical marijuana provider could only have one patient at a time. Assenberg says he had one patient and his wife, who was also licensed, had one patient.
In an interview this morning with Big Country News Connection, Assenberg says he is happy that the property has been returned, "it's been beautiful," although he says the live plants that were taken from his home were not stored properly and have mold on them. "About two jars might be usable," he says, and adds that the seeds he had developed over the last several years were not part of the evidence that was returned.
Assenberg says he will be meeting with an attorney this week to begin a lawsuit against the state, Whitman County, and the Quad Cities Drug Task Force for the raid, and he will be seeking $6 million in damages. Assenberg says he also eventually plans to sue to the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Food and Drug Administration based upon the Controlled Substances Act that states that marijuana has no accepted medicinal value in treatment in the U.S. A total of 18 states and the District of Columbia now have medical marijuana laws in place.
Mia Carlson, news director for KZBG in Clarkston, wrote this report.