Following his arrest for cultivating hundreds of marijuana plants, Edward Bogunovich, age 87, claimed that he was following the state's medical marijuana law -- an assertion about which the Denver District Attorney's office clearly disagrees.
Could he be right? Too soon to know. But just as interesting as that question is the manner in which Denver Police did the math when it came time to seize part of his crop.
Although Amendment 20, the constitutional amendment that legalized medical marijuana in Colorado after passing in 2000, states that patients are allowed six plants, it also allows physicians to recommend higher amounts depending upon medical necessity. Nevertheless, some law-enforcement agencies and prosecutors have treated the six-plants figure as a hard-and-fast rule.
Take the case of Colorado Springs patient Bob Crouse, who was arrested and charged with having more marijuana than allowed by law even though a doctor believed he needed up to 75 plants for a cannabis-oil treatment called Phoenix tears. The case dragged on for about a year before Crouse was acquitted in late June.
The arrest affidavit for Bogunovich on view below hints at a bias toward the six-plant standard, yet it doesn't apply the total in this case. According to the narrative, detectives found that Bogunovich had more than 400 marijuana plants spread throughout his yard, but only medical marijuana patient paperwork for himself and three other people -- all of them his children, 9News reports. But rather than identifying anything beyond 24 plants as contraband, the police note that the recommendations allowed 231 of them.
The paperwork is described in the affidavit as "questionable." But rather than fight the same battle that failed in the Crouse prosecution, the detectives declare the 183 plants beyond 231 to be over Bogunvich's legal allowance.
Moreover, the report notes the presence of scales, packaging materials, a vacuum sealer and crop projections of up to $500,000 as evidence that Bogunovich was "cultivating the marijuana for more than personal and provider usage."
The seized plants weighed in at 461 pounds-plus.
The charges against Bogunovich include possession with intent to distribute more than 100 pounds of marijuana, cultivation of more than thirty marijuana plants and possession of more than twelve ounces of marijuana. He's free on bond, which is why he was able to speak with 9News from his home, whose backyard has holes aplenty from where plants were uprooted. He's due back in court on August 16.
Look below to take a larger look at Bogunovich's mug shot, followed by the 9News report and the aforementioned arrest affidavit.
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