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Kitsap prosecutor drops medical pot charges

The Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office announced Wednesday afternoon it has dropped criminal charges against a local medical marijuana patient.

Olalla resident Glenn Musgrove, 56, was accused of unlawful use of a building for drug purposes. A WestNET report said that one of Musgrove’s neighbors reported the marijuana grown for medicinal treatment was being sold for profit.

Musgrove’s caregivers, David May and Jena Milo, were also facing prosecution.

All charges were dismissed.

“After looking over the case, we’ve decided we will not proceed,” said Felony and Juvenile Division Chief Tim Drury. “We do not think we can convince a jury of his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Musgrove was arrested in March 2008. Many of the details gathered in the charging document originated from a confidential informant, but WestNET assembled financial data about Musgrove, his brother and his caregivers that suggested an illegal drug operation.

This would have been the second high-visibility medical marijuana case in Kitsap this spring, following that of Olalla resident Bruce Olson, who was acquitted on March 24 of similar charges.

Clayton Longacre, who is representing Musgrove, was not immediately available for comment.

The previous trial drew medical marijuana advocates from throughout the northwest, who provided support for Olson during his trial.

Most had promised the same support for Musgrove.

Alexis Foster, who prosecuted Olson and was also assigned to the Musgrove trial, said shortly before the announcement that the case was sound and could be proven.

Foster said the prosecution was not based on the use of medical marijuana, but was proceeding because her office believed both Olson and Musgrove had broken the law.

Olson was a certified medical marijuana patient at the time of his arrest, but was accused of selling his crop to others.

Foster said she was not sure Musgrove was authorized to receive the drug, but felt he was also engaged in activity that did not conform to the law.

“Medical marijuana is not the issue here,” she said. “We prosecute these cases because we feel the law has been broken.”

Drury said Musgrove’s illness — he is a quadriplegic and must be transported on a gurney — was a factor in the prosecution’s decision to drop the case.

Longacre said Musgrove’s condition was the result of a back injury and subsequent medical malpractice.

Longacre previously argued that Musgrove was being prosecuted “so the county can get their hands on his settlement money.”

Musgrove appeared in the courthouse at the same time as the Olson trial for a hearing in his own case, and was wheeled into the courtroom with his face covered.

This caused some observers to conclude that a dead body was being moved through the courthouse.

Musgrove appeared by telephone in a hearing on March 27 in front of Superior Court Judge Jeanette Dalton. Another telephonic hearing was slated for April 17 and the trial was scheduled to begin in May.

Cannabis Defense Coalition spokesperson Pam Haney, one of the activists observing the trial, said she expected the charges to be dismissed since they were “ludicrous.”

Haney said changing attitudes in general could mobilize voters to defeat candidates who support restrictive marijuana laws and waste money on their prosecution.

Throughout the Olson trial, the Prosecutor’s Office was consistently criticized for continuing the case, alleging that it represented the injudicious use of taxpayer’s money.

A public disclosure request by the Port Orchard Independent to determine case costs was addressed by Drury, who said the office does not track its time with regard to individual cases, so it was not possible to quantify the specific expense.

Drury said the only ancillary expense for the case was $2,406.78 spent to transport witness Steven Kenney so he could testify against Olson.

This money comes from an expert witness fund that is assembled from criminal funds and is not at the taxpayer’s expense, according to Drury.

CHARGING DOCUMENTS NOTE: The Port Orchard Independent initially posted the charging documents, to provide background on the case. These documents have now been removed, as they contained sensitive personal information about those who were charged.

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