Bothell suspect cleared in medical-pot case

  • Fri Feb 19th, 2010 12:10am
  • News

By Diana Hefley Herald Writer

EVERETT — Snohomish County’s first medical marijuana trial ended in an acquittal Thursday.

A Snohomish County jury took less than two hours to decide that a former Bothell woman’s indoor marijuana-growing operation was legal under the state’s medical marijuana law.

Jurors found that Cammie McKenzie, 24, had a valid medical reason and authorization to grow and use marijuana. The jury also believed that the pot garden police found in McKenzie’s home didn’t exceed the state’s 60-day supply guideline.

The Eastside Narcotics Task Force seized about 65 plants in various stages of growth during a raid in March 2008.

McKenzie testified that none of the plants were ready to harvest. She had designed a garden that would provide her with a continual cycle of marijuana to treat chronic pain, arthritis and other problems she developed after being in two car accidents in 2006.

Prosecutors alleged that McKenzie was using her medical marijuana authorization as a shield. They accused her of growing marijuana and using her roommate to sell the extra dope for profit.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Matthew Baldock told jurors that McKenzie was growing more marijuana then she had admitted, or that she needed to treat her symptoms.

McKenzie told the jury that she smokes up to a quarter of an ounce of marijuana every day to treat her medical conditions.

Her attorney, public defender Natalie Tarantino, in closing arguments invited the jury to jump down the “rabbit hole” to sort out a case in which McKenzie’s roommate, an admitted drug dealer, was allowed to walk free while her client, a legitimate medical marijuana patient, was being prosecuted for a felony.

Prosecutors promised McKenzie’s former roommate that he would not be prosecuted if he testified against McKenzie.

“She followed the law but she’s still here. He didn’t follow the law and he walked out the door this morning,” Tarantino said.

Medical marijuana advocates who sat through the three-day trial clapped and cheered after the verdict was read. The group thanked jurors as they left the courtroom.

The verdict left McKenzie in tears. One juror gave McKenzie a thumbs up and wished her good luck.

“After this is over, do you want to go back to my house and smoke out?” McKenzie asked supporters in the courtroom, before jurors returned with their verdict.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463, hefley@heraldnet.com.