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Ailing Auroran Sues for Seized Pot's Return


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Source: Denver Post (CO)
Author: Manny Gonzales, Denver Post Staff Writer
Published: Thursday, August 26, 2004 
Copyright: 2004 The Denver Post Corp
Contact: [email protected]

Arapahoe County - Dana May wants his pot, and he's suing the Aurora Police Department and the Arapahoe County sheriff to get it back. 

May, 45, filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Arapahoe County District Court, seeking to have 2 ounces of marijuana returned to him for treatment of a neurological disease that has hobbled him for years.

The marijuana was seized from May three months ago in a raid on his southeast Aurora home. May claims he had permission from the state to grow the marijuana.

"I used every penny I had to get the equipment," May said. "I've never bought marijuana off the streets and wouldn't know where to go to buy it."

His attorney, Robert Corry, said his client was never charged with a crime.

"The DA didn't file charges against him because he was following the letter of the law and had all the permits he needed," Corry said. "There is no reason for them to keep his marijuana."

The suit seeks the return of the marijuana or damages of at least $10,000.

Attorneys for the city and county could not be reached for comment. An Aurora police spokesman referred all inquiries to federal authorities.

May suffers from reflex sympathetic dystrophy, a nerve ailment that causes intense burning pain in his feet and legs. He says he has tried various medications and has been on opium, but marijuana is the most effective, he says.

May began using medical marijuana two years ago after getting permits and a prescription from his doctor. Four years ago, Colorado voters approved a medical marijuana law, but federal law still doesn't allow it.

Currently, May's pot resides with the Drug Enforcement Administration, agency spokesman Daniel Reuter said. Federal authorities typically don't target small-time users or dealers, but they work with local authorities. Reuter would not say why DEA agents and police raided May's home.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice said there's no way the contraband will be returned.

"Marijuana is considered a contraband under federal law," said Justice Department spokesman Jeff Dorschner. "It is illegal to distribute, and under no circumstance would the Justice Department authorize its return without a court order."

Sheriff Grayson Robinson said his deputies were not involved in the raid on May's home. Corry says he will likely drop the Sheriff's Office from the lawsuit.

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