Medical marijuana patient Bob Crouse acquitted: Another wasteful prosecution?

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In June, medical marijuana grower Elisa Kappelmann was exonerated following a two-year prosecution that included surveillance of her warehouse grow by a high-flying Department of Homeland Security aircraft outfitted with heat-mapping capability (despite the fact that multiple government agencies already had her address and knew exactly what she was doing). And Hatfield noted that Jesse Vriese, a dispensary worker who was accused of overgrowing even though he didn't have anything to do with that part of the operation, also won acquittal earlier in June.

Will the Crouse verdict convince May and company to use more discretion when it comes to pot prosecutions? Hatfield, who's planning a July 30 protest at May's office, is dubious.

"I don't know if they're going to listen to our message," she concedes, noting that in the last week or so, she's had a couple of new people contact her with tales of unjust marijuana prosecutions. She hasn't had a chance to check out their stories, so she can't vouch for them quite yet, but she says, "as far as I can tell, this kind of thing is still going on.

"I would hope they'd look at Bob's case, and these other cases, and say, 'This just isn't working for us.' But Dan May's got his agenda" -- he's seen in Republican quarters as a possible successor to John Suthers as Colorado Attorney General -- "and I think he's going to try to prosecute as many cases as he possibly can."

For the most part, Hatfield goes on, prosecutors in the Springs "try to get people to take a plea deal. But if you're in the right and you have everything up to speed but you're still being hassled, we encourage people to plead not guilty and take the case to trial. Because that wastes [the DA's] money. And the only way to get them is in the pocketbook."

Look below to see Crouse's post-victory celebration.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana: Ongoing Bob Crouse trial shows prosecution overreach, advocate says."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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