Medicial marijuana advocate out of jail

Michael S. Green, Tribune managing editor

Matt Macosko walked out of the El Dorado County jail Friday after posting bail on drug charges.

A county prosecutor tried to double the bail during Friday’s hearing in El Dorado County Superior Court, while Macosko’s attorney asked for bail to be reduced. Retired Judge Terrence Finney chose none of the above and left bail at $75,000.

Macosko’s most recent arrest came Tuesday after narcotics agents served a warrant charging him with providing pot to minors earlier this year. He also faces a drug transportation charge after police found a quarter-pound of marijuana in his car Tuesday.

While Macosko claims to be a medical marijuana provider, Finney took note of a recent appellate court ruling that the 1996 Compassionate Use Act does not allow for transportation of marijuana.

“I have a very hard time believing that he’s driving around with a quarter-pound in his car for his personal use,” Finney said.

Deputy District Attorney Lisa Serafini sought a bail increase, saying Macosko befriended and supplied marijuana to children living at a residential motel. According to a surveillance report, children also were present in a gathering where marijuana was being smoked as Macosko spoke outside a local coffee house.

“This isn’t about medicinal marijuana,” Serafini said of Macosko’s behavior. “This is about getting high.”

But defense attorney Jordan Morgenstern argued that Macosko’s speech advocating the use of medicinal marijuana was constitutionally protected. He also noted the new charges date back to February, before Macosko’s April arrest for picking up a parcel of marijuana at the Al Tahoe post office.

Since then, Morgenstern said, Macosko has made all his court appearances and poses no flight risk.

“We’re not talking about any new behavior that should subject Mr. Macosko to such a high bail,” Morgenstern said.

After being released, Macosko thanked his attorney and his supporters.

“I enjoy my freedom,” he said. “I feel the charges are false and I’m going to fight them all the way.”

Macosko’s next court appearance is Oct. 15 for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday’s arrest. Further proceedings in the April case are set for Oct. 26.

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