Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Appellate Court Reverses Conviction of Dispensary Owner

A Washington appellate court overturned a lower court's conviction against Scott Shupe, the owner of Change, one of the first medical marijuana dispensaries open in Spokane.

Shupe was found guilty of manufacturing, possessing and selling marijuana. However, the appellate court supported his defense that he was a legitimate dispensary owner.

The state's prosecutors presented a case that was torn apart on Shupe's appeal. The prosecutors did not answer Shupe's defense that he was a dispensary owner working within the letter of the law. The defense successfully argued that the warrants issued did not have probable cause and that the information for the basis of the warrant was not creditable because the informant for the warrant did not see the marijuana in question or see any sales taking place.

In addition, according to KXLY, the police did not prove that Shupe sold marijuana or that it was being transported because they did not conduct an undercover operation against Change — despite having an opportunity to do so.

However, possibly the most important and telling detail in Shupe's defense, that wasn't mentioned by the court, was the overwhelming legalization of marijuana by Washington state's voters.