Felony marijuana charges dropped against "pregnant caregiver" Sherri Versfelt

Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett says he's "committed to having the most progressive approach to medical marijuana of any DA's office in the state." And yesterday, he took another step toward establishing that reputation by dismissing charges against Nederland's Sherri Versfelt, who was scheduled to go to trial next week on felony drug charges.

In a release about this development, the Cannabis Therapy Institute, one of numerous medical-marijuana advocacy organizations interested in the case, identifies Versfelt as a "35-year-old pregnant caregiver" who was ministering to a patient during the July 2008 time period when her home was raided. And while CTI compliments Garnett on the decision, the group also criticizes him for letting the matter drag on so long. Check out the Institute's take below.

Charges Dropped Against Boulder County Medical Marijuana Caregiver

{Boulder, CO} -- On Thursday, Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett dropped the charges against 35-year-old pregnant caregiver, Sherri Versfelt of Nederland, CO, who had been scheduled for a jury trial next week. Sherri had been charged with felony marijuana crimes stemming from a raid on her house in July 2008. Sherri was serving as the caregiver for a patient with a debilitating medical condition.

Sherri's case was set to go to trial Monday in Boulder District Court. Rob Corry, Sherri's attorney, had a guest commentary printed in Thursday's Boulder Daily Camera that discussed the atrocities of her case.

The Cannabis Therapy Institute posted a picture of her on their website on Wednesday night, calling the persecution of the pregnant caregiver a "Witch Hunt" and rallying supporters to her trial.

The D.A. says that the prospects of bad publicity and public outrage were not the reasons he dropped the charges, but prosecuting a pregnant woman would have arguably been the biggest PR mistake the D.A.'s office had made since the case of Jason Lauve. Jason was the D.A.'s last medical marijuana prosecution, which resulted in a resounding defeat for the D.A. when Jason was acquitted of all charges. Jason participated in most of his trial in a wheelchair and received great sympathy from his jury. A photo of him receiving a hug by one of his jurors was on the front page of the Boulder Daily Camera the next day and photos of him outside the courthouse with 34 ounces of medicine spread across the Internet.

The D.A. was widely criticized for wasting taxpayer resources on the Lauve prosecution. To appease public opinion after Jason's victory, Garnett campaigned in editorials and public meetings to become known as the "the most progressive District Attorney in the state on the issue of medical marijuana." Recently, Garnett pledged to the Boulder County Commissioners that he was going to use "as little of my office's resources in prosecution of marijuana cases as we can."

The Cannabis Therapy Institute is calling the dismissal of Sherri's charges a guarded victory for all Colorado patients. Despite Garnett's assurances that he was not waging a war on patients, the prosecution of Sherri Versfelt continued for over a year and wasted even more thousands of taxpayer dollars.

"I hope that Stan Garnett continues to uphold the pledge he made after my acquittal that he wouldn't prosecute any more patients or dispensaries," says Jason Lauve, former medical marijuana defendant. "Sherri's prosecution went on for far too long. I hope that this teaches police and prosecutors to have more respect for patients' Constitutional rights and to keep them out of the court to begin with."

Rob Corry is on a string of victories this week with medical marijuana patients. On Tuesday, he liberated almost half a pound of medicinal cannabis from the Colorado Springs Police Department on behalf of patient Stephan Thomas who had the charges against him dropped as well. See the story and video here.