Source: Denver Post (CO)
Author: David Harsanyi, Denver Post Columnist
Published: Thursday, March 10, 2005
Copyright: 2005 The Denver Post Corp
Contact: [email protected]
The last time I visited with Thomas Lawrence and the Colorado Compassion
Club, they were busy resuscitating an operation decimated by an
unwarranted DEA raid.
Impressed by these mad pot agriculturists, crossbreeding strains of
cannabis under artificial lights in their basement, I decided to keep an
eye on them.
Trust me, you would have been impressed, too. Lawrence attacked his
cannabis enhancement with a cerebral vigor typically associated with the
likes of Stephen Hawking.
Admittedly, at a radically slower pace.
I proceed with this disclaimer: Please, don't try this at home. Growing
"Himalayan Gold" or "Purple Haze" isn't a frivolous pursuit.
Leave it to the professionals.
And CCC members are pros.
Since Colorado voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing
medical use of marijuana in 2000, the club's membership has grown to
almost 70 patients. It sustains its business operation purely through
Legitimately assisting many patients in serious pain, the club has an
impressive array of products, which now include salad dressing, peanut
butter, fudge and the classic brownie.
Now our improbable hero, the Mr. Magoo of cannabis, has inadvertently
struck another blow in the fight for medicinal marijuana freedom.
It began when Lawrence was pulled over while driving in January with
some improper tags on his license plates.
Our man also happened to have in his possession a heaping bag of
"medicine" (to be more specific, "Kahuna Salad" - a medley of five
strains of marijuana), which the apprehending cops, as you can imagine,
were a bit skeptical about.
And who could blame them?
"I told them it was medicine," explains Lawrence. I'm sure the police
hadn't exactly heard that one before.
Lawrence, who, predictably, had forgotten his caregiver paperwork at
home, had some difficulty persuading the officers of his altruistic
As a result, both he and his medicine were hauled down to the station.
Even though the club had recently harvested some supreme "Bubble Funk"
and "Shishkaberry Dutch Treat," Lawrence and his wife, Larissa, could
hardly afford to lose an ounce of prime "Kahuna Salad" to The Man.
So in early February, Lawrence appeared at the police station with a
court order and asked the police to return his medicine.
You can theorize, I suppose, that an individual who is possibly naive -
or undoubtedly stoned - might believe the police would instantly and
without question return an ounce of marijuana.
But a clear-headed individual might realize that cops aren't in the
habit of handing illegal hemp over to wiseguys with oversized bongs
readied for fire at home.
There was a paperwork problem and a lot of futile waiting at the
station. The property disposition was not in order.
One cop told Lawrence that there "was no way he was ever getting that
"But I have a court order," Lawrence replied over the phone to the
property manager. "All you have to do is read the law."
When a cop finally came to the lobby, he yelled. "Where's that guy
Thomas looking for his marijuana?"
After some contentious discussion, Lawrence again left empty-handed.
Last Thursday, however, with his lawyer and wife in tow, Lawrence
returned with the proper paperwork to reclaim his ounce of "Kahuna
Salad." This time, the return went down smoothly.
According to the Denver Police Department, this was the first time
illicit drugs had ever been returned in the city.
"I couldn't keep the smile off my face," says Lawrence.
But the department's Sgt. Teresa Garcia does have some advice.
"Please: If you're transporting marijuana or you have a prescription to
use it, bring some proof with you."
There's nothing like a happy ending.
David Harsanyi's column appears Monday and Thursday.
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