Most charges in Medford medical pot case dismissed

MEDFORD, Ore. — Most charges against the owners of a Medford medical marijuana dispensary have been dismissed as part of a plea deal to wrap up a case that began with a high-profile raid in May 2013.

Dozens of racketeering and money-laundering charges against Lori and Leland Duckworth were dismissed Wednesday, and each was found guilty of a single count of delivery of marijuana, the Mail Tribune reported.

They were sentenced to 11 months of probation, after which their felony charges can be reduced to misdemeanors.

Jackson County Judge Lorenzo Mejia said the Duckworths can use medical marijuana but can’t grow it for others.

He noted that the deal comes at a time when marijuana’s place in Oregon seems to be changing. The Legislature has moved to put medical dispensaries on a legal footing — something resisted by authorities in Jackson County and elsewhere — and a legalization initiative is viewed as standing a good chance of passage in November.

“We have to acknowledge these acts were criminal at the time they were committed,” Mejia said. “We will see what the voters or the Legislature does.”

Medford police said they seized nearly 12 pounds of marijuana, 94 plants, cash, documents, computers and edible marijuana products from the Southern Oregon NORML office the couple ran. Police also said they seized 22 pounds of marijuana from the Duckworths’ home.

The Duckworths initially faced charges of conspiracy to deliver marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school and manufacturing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school. Later, charges of racketeering, possession of substantial amounts of marijuana and money laundering were added.

Outside the courtroom, Lori Duckworth said local authorities invested a lot of time and effort in the case.

“The reefer madness generation is dying,” she said. “It’s a drug war. It’s a failed war, and my husband and I were casualties of it.”

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