Medical pot advocate hopes to set court precedent
Matthew Macosko is walking free for the time being.
Macosko was arrested April 11 after mailing a package containing a quarter pound of marijuana. The package, which was sent to an address in Kentucky, was intercepted by a U.S. postal worker and South Lake El Dorado Narcotics Enforcement Team was notified. The package never reached the intended recipient and was returned to South Lake Tahoe. Law enforcement waited for Macosko to retrieve the package and shortly after arrested him. Authorities also found $10,550 cash on Macosko.
During his arraignment, Macosko waived his right to a speedy trial. His preliminary hearing has been set for May 7 at 8:30 a.m. He faces two felony charges of transportation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale.
Judge Susan Kingsbury released Macosko, a well-known distributor of medical marijuana on the South Shore, on his own recognizance. His bail had been set at $250,000.
Despite the gravity of the charges, Kingsbury said she felt it was unlikely Macosko would attempt to flee if released.
“I do think you will appear in court,” Kingsbury said during Macosko’s arraignment. “I am going to release you on your own recognizance.”
During the proceedings Macosko said that his intention was to provide medical marijuana for persons in serious need through a South Shore dispensary, Tahoe Healing Caregivers. He argued that the medical marijuana laws are unclear as to the legality of mailing marijuana for medical purposes.
“I know that the mailing thing has not been addressed yet, but I am trying to set precedents,” Macosko said. “I see people hurting in town and everywhere, and I try to help them.”
Kingsbury agreed the medical marijuana laws are ambigious in their wording.
“The medical marijuana laws are lacking in many respects,” Kingsbury said. “They were drafted very poorly. It leaves these people without parameters with which to conduct themselves within the law.”
Kingsbury’s decision to release Macosko came on the condition that he not sell, use, mail, or drive under the influence of marijuana. Macosko said he was happy with the judge’s decision.
“I’m glad I was let out on (my own recognizance,)” Macosko said. “I am not running. I am planning on setting some precedent.”
About a dozen people gathered in front of the court and on Al Tahoe Boulevard to support Macosko. They held signs supporting his release and they waved to passing cars. Macosko’s godmother, Stevie Kiss, was among them and said she was pleased with the decision.
“Matt has made it possible for everyone in Lake Tahoe to be medicated,” Kiss said. “There are people who are dying and they need this medication. I don’t think he should be charged with it. I feel wonderful and I feel beautiful for Matt.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
TRPA is failing Tahoe residents on short term rentals