Medicinal marijuana provider arrested
Law enforcement found no medicinal use in this case.
South Lake El Dorado Narcotics Enforcement Team Wednesday arrested 28-year-old Matthew Macosko, who is known to distribute medicinal marijuana at South Shore, for possessing marijuana with intent to sell.
“SLEDNET was contacted by a U.S. postal inspector who intercepted an Express Mail package,” said Task Force Commander Christopher Elliott. “It was mailed to Kentucky but it was never picked up and returned. It was suspected to contain marijuana based on smell.”
Armed with that tip, law enforcement agents staked out the post office.
“We set up surveillance and agents watched Macosko show up to front counter to pick up the package,” Elliot said.
Around 2:45 p.m., SLEDNET and South Lake Tahoe Police stopped a silver Toyota pickup driven by Macosko. After obtaining a warrant to search the vehicle, investigators reportedly found a quarter-pound of high quality marijuana in the truck. At the jail they found $10,550 in cash on Macosko.
He was booked for two felonies, transportation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale, with his bail set at $20,000. A few hours later a judge raised it to $250,000.
Elliott said there are two reasons for the bail enhancement: “No. 1 is that the offense is likely to continue. Secondly Macosko refused to give us an address where he lived, he said he was a transient. So we requested bail increase to avoid any likelihood of him fleeing.”
The bail amount is not “set in stone,” Elliott said, and it may be reduced in court by a judge if Macosko can establish ties to the community.
If convicted on both charges, Macosko could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison. In 1997, he served seven months in El Dorado County Jail for selling marijuana. And in January 2000, police made a traffic stop on Macosko and found a small amount of pot. In that case, all charges but one, driving without a license, were dropped. Since he has doctor’s recommendation to use marijuana to stimulate his appetite, help him sleep and calm his nerves, the pot was returned for Macosko’s personal use.
Elliott said the new case against him will be reviewed for any federal violations and that he may submit another charge against Macosko for driving under the influence of marijuana.
On Feb. 2 Macosko appeared on the front page of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. A photo showed him delivering marijuana to a man who suffers from emphysema. In an article that accompanied the photo, Macosko said it was his intention to open a discrete medicinal marijuana dispensary at South Shore named Tahoe Healing Caregivers.
He called the Tribune from El Dorado County Jail and explained why he had so much cash on him.
“I had a lot of cash but I can break it down so quickly and it meant nothing, it’s basically all donations,” he said. “(The money) goes to Tahoe Healing Care – basically to local growers for time and expenses and goes to lawyers to help people for people who need medicinals. Right now I don’t have a house or nice car, I’m not doing it for money. I’m not trying to make money off medical marijuana. I expect this stuff to happen with what I’m doing, it’s kinda like a Rosa Parks thing.”
Macosko said the marijuana authorities arrested him with was meant for a California resident who has a doctor’s medical marijuana recommendation because of a serious spinal injury. Macosko’s “patient” was in Kentucky following the tour of a rock group.
“I’m willing to admit I was mailing off to a friend who was traveling with a band who has has medicinal marijuana prescription and that I went to pick up the package,” he said. “I believe it should be legal to mail marijuana. Mailing prescriptions is a good way for sick people not to have to get up and waste gas or anything like that. This guy is a close personal friend of mine who desperately needs it. He has a serious spinal injury, the only way he can function is with herbs.”
Under the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, California law allows “caregivers” to supply medicinal marijuana patients with the drug. But as far as Task Force Commander Chris Elliot is concerned, it is not legal under any circumstance to transport drugs through the U.S. Mail or across state lines.
Macosko’s arraignment is expected Friday, April 13 in El Dorado County Superior Court. Friends and supporters plan to protest his arrest outside the courthouse from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
“We’re going to have a protest demonstration,” said Stevie Rodney-Kiss, godmother to Macosko. “We’re making up fliers that say, ‘Please free our Tahoe Healing Caregiver’ giver Matt Macosko. We really need to do something. This is really an injustice. We are calling on the nation for help in our cause for medical marijuana.”
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