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Mar-22-2009 03:02printcomments

Washington State Marijuana Trial on National Stage

Thousands are anxiously watching the case against a retired stone mason as they move into closing arguments.

Russ Hauge
Kitsap County Prosecutor Hauge vs. WA Medical Marijuana Law

(PORT ORCHARD, Wash.) - Thirty or so miles outside Tacoma, Washington, in Kitsap County there has been a storm brewing. It's been coming for almost two years, and for the last two weeks, the force of the impact has been hitting the courtroom, but hard.

Kitsap County may not be a place that every one is acquainted with, and after you read this story, it may indeed be one of the last places you ever want to visit.

Though we generally accept that people are hard working, honest and congenial throughout the Pacific NorthWest, it so happens that the very core of the Kitsap County government has displayed none of those considerable attributes.

The majority of Washingtonians voted together in 1998 for the health and safety of its ill residents. Supporting the medical use of marijuana was not a hard choice for most, and the state has adjusted very well overall to bringing these sick patients into the fold.

Contrary to these ideals seems to be one particular man: Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge (pronounced howgy). His opinion of the thousands of legal medicinal use patients seems to be nothing less than disapproval.

The story goes like this:

In May of 2007, Pamela and Bruce Olson's Olalla, Washington home was raided by the WestNET (West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team) drug task force, and they were both arrested. Upon entry to their home, the police poisoned the family’s black Labrador dogs, costing $2,000 in vet bills to save them.

The Olson's are both registered medical marijuana patients, approved by the State of Washington to grow and use the herb medicinally. They say they were obeying the law, but nevertheless, they each faced the same "distribution" charge of illegal possession of marijuana with the intent to sell for growing 48 plants.

Ironically, Bruce and Pam Olsen had no usable cannabis at the time of their arrest. The couple was attempting their first crop, when an informant led the WestNET Drug Task Force to search them. They had a total of 12 flowering plants that were three feet tall, and 18 little cuttings that were less than eight inches tall, which is less than recommended by THCF Medical Clinic.

Even so, prosecutors claim that the Olson's exceeded the state's 60-day supply rule allowed under the 1998 initiative, and that they were selling marijuana, not just using it medicinally. The Olson's maintain that they were not selling on the black market, and their medicine was grown for personal use. Still, the prosecution pressed on helping make this case the "poster child" for medicinal marijuana advocates across the United States.

To finance their legal defense, the Olson's had to sell their home of 20 years. They now live in a RV parked on a friend's property.

In April 2008, a Superior Court judge ruled that 51-year old Pamela Olson could not use the medical marijuana law as a defense, saying that her doctor should have told her what her 60-day supply is instead of her making the determination herself. Pamela Olson was sentenced April 29th, 2008 to 60 days of house arrest, and is now serving probation, having pleaded out to avoid jail time. Her husband's trial was set for March 2009.

Perhaps not oddly enough, the judge agreed that as part of her sentence, Pamela Olson is not allowed to use medical marijuana to ease her pain, apparently because Department of Correction rules don’t "recognize" medical marijuana.

Unfortunately, Washington's original medical marijuana law that was passed by voters in 1998 contained only an affirmative defense for authorized patients, in that law enforcement officials were still able to arrest patients, who then faced the burden of proving their innocence in court.

Washington medicinal marijuana advocate Lee Rosenberg says that more progressive prosecutors like King County’s Dan Satterberg recognized that hauling patients into court was a waste of time and taxpayer money, and didn’t do it. But that is not the case with Russ Hauge, who has turned into a major focus of the anger in this case.

When questioned on wasting tax payer money on the Olson case, Hauge said, "We had no special expenditures for this case. We didn’t fly in any expert witnesses, and the prosecutor isn’t getting paid overtime." Two weeks of court, and a witness flown from Oklahoma. One would think that could total up sizeably.

"A lot of us who are trying to call more media attention to the Olson trial certainly want more changes to our current drug laws. No argument there," says Rosenberg. "The problem with what Russ Hauge is doing is that he’s openly trying to undermine the current medical marijuana law in the state of Washington."

The usual "tactic", as Hauge's adversaries say, has been for his office to arrest patients, then threaten them with long prison terms until accept a plea deal. This is what happened to Pamela Olson.

54-year old Bruce Olson, however, has not plead out. For the past two weeks, he has been on trial. Over twenty people have been in court every day, observing the trial and showing their support for Olson.

"Weeks ago Dr. Orvald and I went to be interviewed by the prosecuting attorney in Port Orchard. We were both questioned separately for two hours each," Paul Stanford told before the trial.

"Based upon that, we anticipated that this trial would be dismissed and the Olsons charges dropped. We are very surprised that the Kitsap County prosecutor is continuing to trial, though they know from our interviews that the Olsons had no usable marijuana."

One supporter, an Oregon medical marijuana patient, drove 200 miles to attend the trial. After one day outside the courtroom, he appealed to President Obama and others for attention to this case, attempting "to alert you to the deviant tactics being played by Kitsap County Deputy Prosecutor Alexis Foster, as well as ask for your help in this matter."

He says that he arrived a few minutes late to the hearing on Tuesday March 10th, so he waited outside the courtroom for a break, so as not to interrupt the proceedings. He had with him a notepad, with a small stop sign graphic on the notepad, which read “Stop Arresting Medical Marijuana Patients” in red.

He believed he was following the rules of the court, even the guards at the entrance of the courthouse had seen the notepad and let him in without saying a word. He was also wearing a 2-inch NORML button, which read “Medical Marijuana is NORML in Oregon”.

He says that when the jurors came out for their break, he was sitting with a few other supporters. He did not look at, nor speak to, or in any other way make contact with any of the jurors, so he was surprised to learn a few minutes later that the entire jury had been thrown out by Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Leila Mills' and that the jury selection process was starting over because "a medical marijuana activist was outside the courtroom with a sign promoting the cause."

"There are multiple witnesses to the situation, attesting that I was behaving only in a professional and courteous manner," he said. "When the Prosecutor walked by, she gave me no acknowledgment; she acted as if I didn’t exist, and I wasn’t even sure she saw me."

Foster objected on grounds that the presence of the "protester" might taint the jurors. It was a slow start.


Once the trial began, first-time Prosecutor Alexis Foster grilled witnesses, insisting on details and in many instances asking yes-or-no questions that the witnesses could not answer.

The expert witness Paul Stanford, Executive Director of THCF (The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation), was debated. The court ultimately ruled that Stanford could testify as an expert about marijuana cultivation, though not about marijuana as it relates to medical ailments, as he is not a doctor, or about the chemistry of marijuana, as he is no scientist. The THCF clinic is the source of the information the Olson's relied upon to determine how they could comply with the law, so his testimony was clearly necessary.

The authorizing doctor was also discussed at length. Foster attempted to disqualify Dr. Thomas Orvald as an expert witness, a motion Superior Court Judge Leila Mills denied. When Foster pressed the doctor about his personal income, defense attorney Thomas Balerud objected, “Dr. Orvald is not being prosecuted for tax fraud, so I think we should move on to something more substantial.”

Dr. Thomas Orvald issued Olson’s medicinal marijuana recommendation. He testified that Bruce Olson suffered from four ailments, each of which qualified him for treatment via medicinal marijuana including Hepatitis C, spinal fractures, ruptured discs, a defective hip and Barrett's disease.

Foster portrayed Dr. Orvald as a difficult and busy witness. She traveled to his Bellevue clinic Friday, March 6th, with two sheriff's detectives in tow, to do a pre-trial interview. That never happened, however, as Dr. Orvald was late, then offered to do the interview at a hotel conference room near the clinic. The prosecutor told the court that she was concerned for her safety, "given the feelings of the medical marijuana community about this case."

Orvald told the court that he sees patients about once a year, and he will approve or decline them based on their condition(s). Washington is like Oregon, in that a patient must be re-approved every year for their medical marijuana permit from the State. A doctor's signature on the application is mandatory in submitting a request.

After three hours of expert testimony from Paul Stanford and a full seven hours on the stand by Dr. Orvald, as well as others, one must wonder what Kitsap County hopes to gain. Or, if they realize what they have become.

As the "allowable limit" of marijuana was the basis of this case, it would be remiss not to note that since Pamela's trial, the law about acceptable quantities of medical marijuana has been more strictly defined in Washington.

Now, card-carrying medical marijuana patients can defend their use in open court if they have no more than 15 plants and up to 24 ounces of marijuana if they believe their supply is within a “60-day supply.” But that law didn’t exist when the Olson cases were brought forth by the enforcement team — only a vague definition dubbed the “60 day supply.”

The only witness the prosecution could come up with is a police informant, Mr. Kenny, allegedly a longtime drug addict that they flew to Washington from Oklahoma for the trial. He claims to have seen Bruce Olson sell marijuana to another person while they were driving home from work. The defense attorney called witnesses who refuted that claim. Their employer said they weren't employed until three months after WestNET raided the Olsons. Mr. Kenny, who claims to have damaged his brain with drugs and alcohol, apparently has a bad memory.


As is well known, access to medical marijuana is rarely, if ever, a matter of life and death to patients. However, it’s a serious quality of life issue for pain management, stimulating hunger during chemotherapy, etc., and depriving them of relief is equal to committing abuse toward that patient. Officials of any capacity should find no protection where their vow to public service has been broken. No one should be able to overrule a doctor's recommendation for a patient to use the best, legal, safe medication for their ailment. Probation or not. Eventually this obvious error will in itself, be overruled.

The Post Orchard Independent says that Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge characterizes medical marijuana advocates as “a well-organized lobby whose purpose is to see the laws changed.” Not, "supporters of the ill and sick". That may not important to Hauge, but as medical marijuana supporters have been congregating in Port Orchard to oversee this trial, they’re discovering what they call "more victims of Russ Hauge’s crusade", including a quadriplegic by the name of Glenn Musgrove, who was recently wheeled into court on a gurney. Musgrove has a hearing scheduled for next Friday, March 27th.

As sick as these patients are, the danger of using marijuana has stayed exactly the same; the real "risk" is that of being arrested. That, and being at the mercy of an unruly justice system.

In the U.S. alone, there are currently over 800,000 people incarcerated for marijuana, 90% of which are for simple possession. With 13 states standing firm as medical marijuana states and several more waiting on the sidelines, a major change in the system is immenent.

80 million Americans are known to have used marijuana, and as hundreds of thousands using it legally across our nation, the old "reefer madness" stigma is all but gone. Still, those that oppose education, cling to "old wives tales" and refuse to accept proven medical expertise will continue to find frustration as those old views are washed aside in the changing tide that is today's marijuana advocacy movement.

Closing arguments for Kitsap v. Bruce Olson are expected on Monday or Tuesday.

Sources:,, Port Orchard Independent, Kitsap Sun

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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kiznkitten August 10, 2010 9:03 am (Pacific time)

Who i s the IDIOT judge in this case???  A Recommendation CAN NOT contain any information about quantities or times to take a medication.  If it does it is a "Prescription" and NOT a recommendation!  Prescriptions for Marijuana are still ILLEGAL!  So, this judge is telling the doctor he should have written an ILLEGAL "Prescription"!  This Judge should be reprimanded, recalled or fired, whichever applies!!!  He clearly has no understanding about the difference between a "Prescription" and a "Recommendation"!  How is it OK for a Judge to order a doctor to engage in an ILLEGAL activity?

William D. Webster July 7, 2009 11:30 am (Pacific time)

I was a resident of Kitsap County. My wife and her adulterous boyfriend got a restraining order made out to a diffrent person. The corrupt Kitsap Sheriff's arrested me at machine gun point (a set up, as I was asleep in my home), and they falsefied documnets and called me an "idiot and"stupid" on 911 tapes. My now ex-wife has an attorney from the governmnet sponsored "Northwest Justice Project." The attorney is a past Kitsap County Prosecuting attorney. She got the Kitsap prosecutors to drag the case on for a year and a half even though they had nothing (case dismissed) Did I mention that the Kitsap Sheriff's stole 12 firearms from me and they are god knows were? The NJP attorney and my ex committed perjury at least 10 times, the judge (who the attorney has connections too) refused to find contempt for felony perjury, even though a brave Port Orchard(kitsap county)Police Det/CSI filed felony perjury chrages against my ex and now as a favor to the ex's NJP attorney, the Kitsap Prosecutors are setting on the felony perjury charges and refusing to prosecute. I sued the judge in his personal capacity in federal court (case dismissed by a federal judge friend of his)and the same Kitsap prsecutor that is setting on the perjury case defended him even though I sued him as an individual and it was illegal for the kitsap prosecutors office to defend him. The NJP attorney would meet me at the door to the courthouse with paperwork and be in ex parte court tpo argue my subpeonas (tipped off by county and court emplyees.) The corruption never ends in the Kitsap County Courthouse. The Northwest Justice Project has hired a mega-Seattle law firm to go against me (I'm pro se as I can't afford an attorney) and I have faced up to 7 attorneys all at governmnet expense. I have recently gotten the attemtion of my congressman and am sending him all the information I have and he is forwarding it to the FBI for a corruption and RICO investigation. Anyone wishing to contact me about this case can email me at:

Rev.Robert Christian June 10, 2009 9:47 am (Pacific time)

Mr.Dennis Moyers- Washington States first Medical cannabis patient has passed away on May 11,2009. His Memorial service took place at the Cross and Crown Lutheran Church in Renton. His Partner Woody has estableshed a "Dennis Moyers belevelant fund" at Boeing Credit union for those wishing to help. Dennis' video montauge that I produced is on just type in " Dennis Moyers Memorial" and you will see the video. We are sad that Mr.Moyers, a dear friend of mine has passed, but he did leave us a legacy. To demand equal treatment of patients who depend on cannabis to live. Dennis was a fantastic model, and it is up to us to complete Dennis' task and vision. Feel free to contact me at anytime

Pajama clad hippy May 9, 2009 2:12 pm (Pacific time)

I resent that fox news comment.I can use medical marijuana for 2 different ailments but choose not to give my name to anyone (like a doctor to get a card)so that good old boys like those in kitsap county can come on over and party in my pantry,or wherever else they want to rip apart looking for more weed.Thank god I live in King county,but I still dont trust any law enforcement people here in Washington state.After 20 years here as a California transplant,Your right..avoid this state as they are nothing but wannabee's and imitators.Remember,these are the decedent's of the people who ran off the local Indians all the way to Montana before they killed em.No wonder Bill Gates imports most of his real talent.

Charlie Bermant April 9, 2009 3:37 pm (Pacific time)

Thanks for giving my response a prominent place on your site, which is more than I expected.....But your statement of "your state gives us the creeps and we do avoid it as much as possible" is ridiculous beyond belief. Aside from the Hendrix/Nirvana/Microsoft/Amazon argument for Washington's continued existence, there are a lot scarier things about Oregon than a few zealous prosecutors. I guess the scariest thing would be that people read your paper and think they have an objective version of the truth.

Tim King: Charlie, Washington is where the movie "Rambo" was set, isn't it?  Come on man, you know those unmarked military-style vehicles cruising the freeways under the guise of "unmarked police traffic enforcement" in your state,  I mean are you OK with that?  In Washington, that is the tip of the iceberg, but it is out in front of everyone to see.  My fear is that journalists become "conditioned" to these circumstances and accept them as protocol when it is very unusual police behavior in many cases.  Anyway, you probably wouldn't be all that resentful toward us if you knew how consistentlly we have been publishing news here at, for five straight  years.  This agency has had huge positive impact on Oregon and beyond and was the leading news agency behind the renewed interest on massive environmental contamination at an old Marine Corps base in Southern California.  That fledling effort that began last May saw RICO charges brought against a huge California contractor.  Our lead is followed by the biggest publications and broadcasters in the world, and I have personally covered Oregon and Washington troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq.  I am sorry we got under your skin, that wasn't the point.  The point is that the government can't hide in the corners of this country's quieter places and get away with running businesss like it is the 50's. 

Charlie Bermant April 8, 2009 7:25 pm (Pacific time)

There are a couple of things here that don't work for me. The first is the idea that this piece is an objective news article. It's an opinionated screed that goes out of its way to make anyone who disagrees look stupid. This has nothing to do with real news.
I also resent the personal attacks on Russ Hauge, Alexis Foster and Kitsap County residents. The notation "after you read this story, it may indeed be one of the last places you ever want to visit" is objectionable on one level...but on second thought, if reading this biased crap keeps you away from my house, all the better.
Fact is, I am a "real" news reporter who has the dubious honor of being one of your "sources." Next time please don't rewrite my stuff to fit your conclusions. Did it occur to you to print the prosecution's side, the fact that maybe Olson or Musgrove may have broken the law, in their belief that the law is wrong? That maybe Hauge or Foster actually believe they are supporting the law as written? Pot is still illegal. If you disagree with that law, you still break it at your own risk.
I guess I most object to these personal attacks. I have covered the Kitsap Prosecutor's Office for years. I may not agree with their prosecutorial zeal on some things, or their unwillingness to prosecute certain other crimes But I will never attack them personally. As a reporter I have the ability to ask them questions, print their answers, and pretend that the reader is smart enough to make up their own minds. Do you think it helps your case to call Hauge a "tirant," or does it make you look like an idiot?
I shouldn't be leaving this message in this space, because it won't change anyone's mind. It makes the same amount of sense as going to a nudist colony and screaming that everyone should get dressed. But I still believe that if you give people objective information they will make the right decisions. If you tell them how to think they will move away from your position.
It should go without saying that this statement is personal and is not encouraged by my employers or their parents.

Editor: Well Charlie, thanks for sharing your views.  I'll be honest with you, your state gives us the creeps and we do avoid it as much as possible.  This story just like the one involving Charles Lynch in California, is about County prosecutors wasting taxpayer money by ignoring and circumventing state law.  Now that AG Holder has made it perfectly clear that this whole federal vs. state law thing is out the window, it makes complaining about this particular story all the more invalid, in my opinion.  I don't know, but it sounds like you're awfully close to your DA's office and you can't as a reporter take their word to be the gospel either friend.  I suspect that if you don't play real nice with these guys, that you cut off your revered "source" and that keeps you tight with them.  I've had my reporter friends over the years who were really close to the prosecutor's office and when one of them screws up, that friendship makes it really difficult to be objective.  There is a lot of passion when it comes to the repeated, persistent dismissal of state law and you do live in the boonies friend.  Here's one parting thought.   At my old TV station in Portland, KATU, I used to be the weekend assignment editor.  Each morning I made beat checks, i.e. called each agency and dispatch center in Oregon and Washington.  There was a handwritten note on the phone log by Kitsap County saying (Dispatchers are very unfriendly)  Honestly, that wasn't my experience with them at any time but it certainly had been for some of my colleagues.  So good luck and do your best and we will too.  

Robert C, Producer April 3, 2009 9:15 pm (Pacific time)

I am a local cable television producer;we have covered this issue many times over with Mr.Dennis Moyers and with Green Cross. I do support those who use this most natural herb for medical reasons. It is sad to think that some people dip back into the 60s frame of mind and call these patients "hippies". That is not called for. If you would like to be a guest on a future show about this issue, contact me at It is time that we as Americans stand up for those and with those who need this as a form of their medication. Stop the bickering and hateful language. and start trying to understand the fullness of the need. You can not judge a book by the number of pages, but by the content on each page..

Melanie April 3, 2009 2:06 pm (Pacific time)

Russ Hauge is a bully and tirant it is not just this case but in most of his cases he practices unfair tactics. He should be the one on trial. Only because he holds the office of PA does not give him the right to manipulate the laws to fit his agenda. People in Kitsap County speak out tell this bully to get the steping. I feel that a formal investigation into his practices needs to happen and charges filed against him. I live in Kitsap and have had family that was dragged in front of the court with Russ Hauge as PA and the level of corruption in the PA's office and police forces in the county is unreal. WAKE UP PEOPLE MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND KICK HIS BOOTY TO THE CURB.

Just Me March 25, 2009 10:16 pm (Pacific time)

Quixote March 23, 2009 .... This trial was BS and the jury saw right through it! As the exact words of the jury members "why are we even here" the laws were unclear when these people were arrested and have now been made clearer... I hope and pray that you never suffer from chronic pain.... before I started dealing with chronic pain it wouldn't have mattered to me at all but since experiencing it I TOTALLY understand! These people were abiding by the law AS IT WAS WRITTEN then.... the plants were NOT mature plants and therefore not even usable. The witness was a druggie who couldn't remember where or when the "buy" took place. the whole trial was BS and a waste of MY tax dollars!!! I live in this county and I will vote against this man!!!!

Phil Mocek March 24, 2009 3:48 pm (Pacific time)

After deliberating for about two hours yesterday afternoon and this morning, jurors acquitted Mr. Olson on both charges. For details, see: * *

@Quikote March 23, 2009 12:03 pm (Pacific time)

I think you're missing the whole part where the specific guidelines on a 6 month supply were omitted in the law at the time of their arrest. So...unless you expect these "pot heads" to teleport to the future (like I often do when I'm high) I suggest you toke up to think straight or read slower derrr derrr derrrr.

Anonymous March 23, 2009 10:15 am (Pacific time)

Just observe the LAW. If the people vote to legalize the use of MEDICAL MARIJUANA consequently thats what the police, prosecuters and judges are required to uphold. Not whatever thier ideals tell them they need to observe. If my child was raped and I went after the rapest even though this is justifiable on my part the law does not uphold my actions. So why are police prosecuters and judges allowed to promote thier personal views over the letter of the law? BECAUSE WE LET THEM! We are still a country of "By the people for the people" and until we stand up for the laws we passed we will be at the mercy of these elected officials and thier "Muscle" i.e the police and prosecuters.

Tell Your Children March 23, 2009 8:43 am (Pacific time)

Prohibition makes the WRONG people rich. Do You like what's happening in Mexico? Want to see that the drug violence come across the border? Simple! Maintain the prohibition laws. Essentially, just keep screaming, "But, it's illegal!" Did prohibition work for alcohol? Is prohibition working for marijuana? California's number one cash crop along with 11 other states is marijuana and is worth more than wine and all other fruits and vegetables combined. It isn't going away. So, are we winning the drug war? It's cost $22.5 TRILLION (fed and states) since Nixon started the war on drugs. Illinois alone spends about $70 million a year removing feral hemp. Smart one. Seen any less drugs? Harder to get? Cost more? No. Prohibition is and has always been a failure. Check your history books. If people want it, they will get it. Prohibition allows access to drugs by our youth. Drug dealers don't ask for identification or your age only your money. Isn't it time that we quit playing Elliott Ness and Al Capone? Have you seen your 4th amendment rights lately? Does passing a urine purity exam to get a job seem like a reasonable request? If so, North Korea is waiting for you! Legalize, Regulate, and TAX!!! "Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded." -Abraham Lincoln (1809-65) U.S. President. Speech, 18 Dec. 1840, to Illinois House of Representatives

Julie March 23, 2009 7:50 am (Pacific time)

Quixote- did you read this story? Man what's the deal- you hate every body or just people cooler than you? oh same thing. The only thing this is about is sick people getting screwed over. Re-read to answer your own questions. Good luck with comprehension. At least it's obvious who pads your wallet!

Fed UP March 23, 2009 7:21 am (Pacific time)

The 'usable marijuana' in this case consists of leaves and STEMS. Anyone following this case knows the prosecution is thinly veiling this entire dog and pony show as a legitimate court case and not a witch hunt, and it's poorly veiled. The Kitsap County Prosecutors should be brought up on charges and disbarred. Obviously, they are completely incapable of catching REAL criminals, getting their hands dirty and doing what they were hired to do. Yes, much easier to bully sick people.

Kim March 23, 2009 6:29 am (Pacific time)

Interesting to note that Washington State has the most polluted site in the history of the world. I am talking about the Hanford site, which was once the home of a Chernobyl style graphite reactor. Chernobyl has been cleaned up as far as possible. Results have been better than expected. The much maligned marijuana plant was used for bioremediation in this effort. Yet, our government doesn't have the intestinal fortitude to do the same. What kind of logic is this?

Kim March 23, 2009 6:18 am (Pacific time)

Time for the Marijuana War Crimes Trials. This is a culture war brought to you by the same mindset that has created 100 years of war. It is time to prosecute Russ Hauge and his ilk.

Quixote March 23, 2009 5:00 am (Pacific time)

Ok,let's try to understand this. Pot lovers and anti-prohibitionists are diehard allies of sick people, right? Why? Besides trying to use their plight to promote their pot ambitions, what other areas of health care policy have these self-interested, me-only, morons engaged themselves in? None, that's what. They argue and picket for medical pot and agree to limit it to authorized patients in order to get their views approved. Then, when the state complies, they argue against prosecuting those who are not authorized and they drum up all this compassionate nonsense. If the Olsons were truly "sick" and their doctor agreed that pot could help, that's precisely what the law was intended to address. The fact that the Olsons decided to forego the legal necessities casts doubt on the medical need. These pot heads are laughable. I hope the prosecutor wins this case and I also hope that this shows the state of Washington's legislature the need for tightening the medical pot law.

Enough March 22, 2009 8:41 pm (Pacific time)

The whole concept of banning a plant is just so ridiculous. You can't smoke enough of it to kill you, and everyone who tries just ends up getting really super mellow (and perhaps a bit hungry). I've never seen a stoner get into a fight or become violent. Unlike boozalhol, weed is quite innocuous. Besides getting happy (OMG! can't have that!), it makes sex just so much better. Relieves pain. The plant can be used to make longer-lasting clothing without destroying the land, the seeds can be eaten for protein, or mashed into an oil that you can cook or even run your car with. Wanna make paper? Hemp works for that too... So why is this plant bad? Oh yeah, corporate interests. I say "ban the corps" that are trying to ban weed... Leave me alone. I've been smoking for years, I'm in good health, have completed several advanced degrees, and run several businesses. I'm no schlub. If weed was as bad as it's alleged, I'd have been dead a long, long time ago... Just tell the Government "NO MORE!" how do you get that prosecutor fired for using a witness who's 100% unreliable and for not following the law of the State? How do you get the cops fired for misconduct involving the evidence? File lawsuits for malfeasance against the cops, and for prosecutorial misconduct against the prosecutor...

nobody from slovakia March 22, 2009 2:37 pm (Pacific time)

God bless America.Here in Slovakia in the midle of Europe we dont have medical uses of marihuana its totaly ilegal in allway.Its the same like you got cocain or other s&$t with you.Its the same class.You are criminal if you use marihuana.No exeption.I hope one day everythings gona change... :-)

Aaron Aarness March 22, 2009 3:19 pm (Pacific time)

Go shop at Walmart in your pajamas hippies. I laugh at you every time I see you...

Editor: Wow, sounds like you've been smokin' crack there Aaron.  Seriously,  you win the illogical comment award for the day!  But you made us laugh so your comment is being approved.  Now start that pick-up, crack your Coors, spit that wad and drive your herd back to FOX News. 

Michael H March 22, 2009 2:31 pm (Pacific time)

Is this an opinion piece, or is it supposed to be a news article? I don't see an indication that this is an editorial.

Editor: This is a news story about a state government that is operating out of the bounds of the law.  There is no hint of objectivity on the part of  Washington in administering their interpretation of the law, and that changes the game board.  A good deal of research time was invested by this reporter before writing the article.

retired-fed March 22, 2009 10:20 am (Pacific time)

Sounds like Mr. Russell D. Hauge needs to be targeted by Federal Investigators with Title 18 authority.

Phil Mocek March 22, 2009 9:37 am (Pacific time)

I attended the past five days of Mr. Olson's trial, and find this article to be a thorough and accurate report of the proceedings. I'd like to draw attention to something about the trial that I feel is being overlooked. The prosecution's paid informant testified that he was alerted to the likelihood that cannabis was being grown at the Olson residence by the scent of cannabis and also by the sound of ballasts. Detective Menge of WestNET testified that this was the information which was brought to her attention by the informant upon initial contact. A ballast is essentially an electrical power adapter for the large high-intensity-discharge lamps that are used in places like parking lots, gymnasiums, and greenhouses. A minimal amount of research on my part leads me to believe that old-style, magnetic, ballasts make the characteristic "hum" that the paid informant described, but that newer, solid-state, electronic, ballasts make little to no sound. The ballasts that WestNET confiscated during their search of the Olson property were not presented as evidence. A police officer who participated in the search testified that there is not sufficient room to store ballasts, so they are typically destroyed in situations such as this one. A representative sample was shown to the jury. It was approximately 10"x10"x18" in size. I noted that several ballasts of that size could have been stored in the space occupied by the 24"x24"x36" evidence box that now contains about 2" of decayed plant matter. So not only does the jury not have access to ballasts that may or may not have actually made the noise that supposedly led to a search warrant being issued, but property seized by police from Mr. Olson's home -- property that has many uses besides the growing of cannabis -- was destroyed before Mr. Olson had his day in court.

Colleen McCool March 22, 2009 7:27 am (Pacific time)

Join the Easy Revolution. The web is the fastest growing communications medium in the history of the world. A powerful tool, a window of opportunity, in our war of good over evil; the Internet continues to revolutionize the way we communicate and has enormous potential for reshaping the political process. The Spirit of '76 was the Holy Spirit and is our true North. Some feel the need for a New American Tea Party. The debate over medical marijuana or cannabis is really a scandalous controversy over whether this very easy-to-grow herb should be allowed to compete with pharmaceuticals for pennies on the dollar. Morally bankrupt profiteers must not rule America. Let ethics rule! Harassing the sick and dying is an un-American activity.

Keith... March 22, 2009 6:05 am (Pacific time)

I can't believe that this Nation can be so barbaric towards it's disabled population! We don't bother a single Soul on this planet, it's this Government both on the State and Federal levels that bother these peaceful citizens who want nothing else but to live as pain free as we can. God have mercy on those who are passing judgement on us.

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