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Marijuana rulings tough to interpret

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Assistant District Attorney Hans Uthe filed a motion to dismiss a transportation of marijuana charge against Matt Macosko, keeping focus on charges of furnishing marijuana to minors.

Macosko appeared at El Dorado County Superior Court on Thursday with his attorney J. David Nick.

The attorneys met before Judge Suzanne Kingsbury to decide whether the defense could raise a medical marijuana case on the transportation charge and how it could be presented.



Macosko was arrested in October for allegedly furnishing marijuana to minors. During the warrant arrest, authorities reportedly found nearly 4 ounces of marijuana in Macosko’s car.

The prosecution believes Macosko is a drug dealer. Macosko said the marijuana is for medicinal purposes.



Nick wanted a doctor who issued Macosko a recommendation for medical marijuana on Jan. 29 to testify in court. A California Appellate Court case, “People vs. Trippett,” ruled a person with a marijuana prescription could transport marijuana.

The Trippett decision contrasts the “People vs. Young” decision where a state appellate judge ruled medical marijuana users cannot transport the drug.

“The reasoning in the Trippett case makes more sense,” Kingsbury said. “It defies logic that a person can have a recommendation to use marijuana, but the recommendation does not permit to move it back and forth. Not permitting to walk from the exterior of the house to the interior. That’s basically transportation.”

While discussion of transporting medical marijuana reigned through most of the proceeding, Uthe wanted to get past the subject.

“This case is about a man who gives drugs to kids,” he said. “What I’m seeing here is a muddling of an issue that has no pertinence.”

In the end, Uthe decided to file a motion to dismiss the single transportation charge and concentrate on the four counts of furnishing to minors. If convicted of the charges, Macosko could face 17 years in state prison.

Nick said he doesn’t want the prosecution to reinstate transportation charges after his client is “acquitted” on the furnishing charges.

Throughout the hearing, both attorneys and Kingsbury expressed dismay over a recent medical marijuana decision, “People vs. Mower,” by the California Supreme Court that failed to institute a guiding course in such cases.

Kingsbury noted that proper guidelines could avoid prosecuting people with legitimate marijuana recommendations. In addition, guidelines could avoid providing drug dealers impunity to continue their trade, she said.

Macosko will next appear in court on Nov. 1. His trial is scheduled for Nov. 12 at 9 a.m.

A separate Macosko case will follow the first trial. The other case involves Macosko being taken into custody in April 2001 on transportation and sales charges. He was arrested after he allegedly picked up a package of marijuana that had been returned to the Al Tahoe Post Office after someone failed to receive it from a post office in Kentucky.

— Contact William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com.


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