YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Regional

Testimony Blocked in Suit by Medicinal User of Pot

August 02, 2000

SIMI VALLEY — A witness who was prepared to testify about the limits on how many marijuana plants can be grown by medicinal users was blocked from doing so Tuesday in the false-arrest suit brought against police by a Simi Valley man.

After a hearing without the jury present, Judge Kent Kellegrew ruled that self-described marijuana expert Chris Conrad could not testify that police acted unreasonably when they arrested Rex Dean Jones in 1998 for growing more than the two plants permitted by the Simi Valley Police Department's medical-use guidelines.

The 64-year-old retiree has diabetes and hypertension.

Jones' attorney, J. David Nick, argued that the guidelines were flawed because they were based on recommendations from then-Atty. Gen. Dan Lungren, who vociferously opposed Proposition 215, the medical marijuana initiative.

Lungren's reasoning, Nick said, was based on the assumption that one marijuana plant produces one pound of the drug, something that "no one could reasonably believe."

Conrad would have testified that even under the most ideal circumstances one plant can only produce five ounces of the drug, according to Nick.

But the judge said scientific accuracy isn't relevant. Instead, he said, the jury needs to consider whether the arresting officers acted under the belief that Jones was violating the law.

Later Tuesday, Jones testified that he had never gotten more than four ounces of pot from any of his backyard plants.

Ventura County prosecutors eventually dropped all charges related to the marijuana cultivation after confirming that Jones is a qualified medicinal marijuana patient.

Jones is seeking unspecified damages.

Los Angeles Times Articles