Testimony shines light on medical marijuana battle

June 27, 2011

A former Atascadero resident testified Thursday that large marijuana growers hide behind the cover of medical marijuana while growing hundreds of pounds of illegal weed to sell for big bucks on the black market. [NECN]

“Everybody’s in this for money. Don’t let anybody fool you,” Thomas Bletko, 51, testified in Josephine County Circuit Court in Oregon. “It’s all done under the guise of being medical.”

Bletko and Brenda Thomas, the manager of the Hemp and Cannabis Foundation clinic in Grants Pass, were licensed to produce 19.5 pounds of marijuana. Oregon State Police arrested Thomas and Bletko after they seized 200 pounds of pot valued at about $500,000 from Thomas’ farm in Grants Pass, Oregon.

“You don’t grow half a million dollars worth of pot for medical patients,” Bletko said.

Bletko turned state’s evidence in exchange for no jail time and 18 months of non-supervised probation for testifying against Thomas. The foundation, headed by longtime Portland marijuana activist Paul Stanford, has clinics in nine states, where doctors examine patients looking for state authorization to use pot to treat medical conditions, NECN reported.

Under Oregon’s medical marijuana law, patients can have someone else grow pot for them, but growers cannot charge patients for the marijuana they produce. They can only collect for expenses, such as electricity and fertilizer, NECN said.

Prosecutors contend Bletko and Thomas planned to provide a small amount of the pot to patients. They said the remainder was to be sold illegally with Bletko and Thomas planning to split the profits.

Thomas argues that she had no idea Bletko was growing more marijuana than permitted. She says that Bletko had not offered to split the illegal profits with her.

Medical marijuana advocates contend Thomas is being railroaded by anti-medical marijuana members of law enforcement. In addition, critics of Bletko’s plea agreement question if his brother’s role as the district attorney of a neighboring Oregon county swayed prosecutors to offer Bletko a deal.

Thomas’ defense attorney Foster Glass said that Bletko has regularly moved in on women to grow marijuana and refused to leave.

Under subpoena, Atascadero resident Cindy Sasur is slated to testify on Tuesday that Bletko grew more plants than he was legally permitted to while renting a home from her in Atascadero while she was working out of town.

Bletko received a medical marijuana card from San Luis Obispo based Dr. Atsuko Rees in 2008. He then took three Atascadero residents to Rees and purchased medical marijuana cards for $450 which listed him as their caregiver.

Sasur told CalCoastNews she discovered Bletko had more marijuana at her home than the law allowed and threatened to call authorities. Bletko allegedly fought back threatening to tell police half the pot was hers.

Sasur said she was able to remove him from her home shortly thereafter.

Meanwhile, in January, while on probation, Bletko was arrested in northern California on felony charges of transporting hashish for sale across state lines. He is scheduled for a July 19 preliminary hearing.


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Vagabond

Can anyone cite me one good example where the “War on drugs” has accomplished a positive outcome on the use of MJ? One?

It’s more accepted now than when this stupid “War” on ourselves started.

Legalize the growing of up to five plants and watch the “pot clinics” and Mexican cartel pot farms blow away in the wind.

Quit being stupid.


jway

On June 17, 1971, President Nixon told Congress that “if we cannot destroy the drug menace in America, then it will surely destroy us.” After forty years of trying to destroy “the drug menace in America” we still *haven’t* been able to destroy it and it still *hasn’t* destroyed us. Four decades is long enough to realize that on this important issue President Nixon wrong! All actions taken as a result of his invalid and paranoid assumptions (e.g. the federal marijuana prohibition) should be ended immediately!


It makes no sense for taxpayers to fund the federal marijuana prohibition when it *doesn’t* prevent people from using marijuana and it *does* make criminals incredibly wealthy and incite the Mexican drug cartels to murder thousands of people every year.


We need legal adult marijuana sales in supermarkets, gas stations and pharmacies for exactly the same reason that we need legal alcohol and tobacco sales – to keep unscrupulous black-market criminals out of our neighborhoods and away from our children. Marijuana must be made legal to sell to adults everywhere that alcohol and tobacco are sold.


zaphod

Nixon was involved


Typoqueen

Another interesting article zap.


zaphod

Thanks Tq, These are better more direct source

explains Nixon’s involvement.


Cindy

This poor woman has been railroaded because she is running the OMMP clinic. The DA let Bletko off in exchange for his false testimony about the medical marijuana program and the DA never charged him with half of the offenses that he was guilty of. He was found with loaded guns, loads of illegal pills, stolen computers and copy right infringment drug pipes that he was mass producing with NFL and Nascar logo’s, not to mention 70 lbs of trimmed marijuana under his bed and only two patient cards. People up here are literally crying and saying that Brenda Thomas is the most honorable individual they have ever known and that she has never excepted money for the marijuana that she provided the patients, “not one single penny”. In the mean time, the entire OMMP is under attack because of this guy. I know this guy and have never met a more dispicable person in my life. This trial is now effecting the pending legislagtion surrounding the MM program in the state of Utah and all the hard copy press there (in Utah) picked up the story over the weekend because the clinics are slated to open in that state if MM is legalized. It’s sickening that a DA would knowingly put a liar on the stand, Bletko’s testimony doesn’t even make sense half the time but it’s all over in the papers while Bletko skates away only to cause more havoc in Siskiyou county.

I don’t smoke marijuana myself but I know that it has helped countless people, what people smoke shouldn’t be anyone elses business. These laws are rediculous.


tj

As much as I wish it were not true, I have to admit that I now believe that the War on Drugs has likely been responsible for more government corruption and loss of personal rights (property confiscation and sale by police, seizures of cash with no possibility of recovery – even if the cash was legitimately earned, SWAT raids on innocent people, etc.) than any other thing I can think of in recent history.


I also have a hard time believing that legalization fixes anything.


To my dismay, that leaves me at a loss on what to do.


Spirit Filled

If mj was legalized we could let a lot of people out of jail. If it was legalized there wouldn’t be anyone trying to grow and sell $500,000.00 worth of it. Let’s get rid of the booze and totally legalize pot for all the obvious reasons.


Typoqueen

And we wouldn’t have these dangerous drug cartels growing it and destroying our countryside.


danika

I don’t feel like any “light” has been shed on the medical marijuana battle as this story seems to focus on one man’s poor attempt to blame others for his illegal activities.


But, might all be a moot point as the federal government is to vote on ending marijuana prohibition. Jimmy Carter is even suggesting reform of marijuana laws!


http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_18331456?source=most_viewed.


zaphod

thank you for the link


standup

What a friggin idiot. “They’re all in it for the money.” Well Mr. dumbshit, for your information, that is not true. Many of the dispensary owners can legally pay themselves a fair wage for their time and that’s not minimum wage. There is nothing in the law that says all labor must be volunteer. People have to eat and shelter themselves for god’s sake. Its people like him that give medical marijuana a bad name.


whatdouno

This guy sounds like a real piece of work! What gives him the power to determine that there is no such thing as anyone using or growing marijuana for medical purposes! Sounds like he is only talking about himself. People have the right to choose the medicine or type of medical treatment they believe will have the best results. Sometimes it really is about health, I believe however in his particular situation it was about the money and now he’s trying to find a scapegoat for his bad actions. I sincerely hope he doesn’t get away with it.


malcolmkyle

When we legally regulate something, (as opposed to when we foolishly attempt to prohibit something) we do NOT automatically condone it’s use; the legal regulations concerning the sale and manufacture of alcohol and tobacco are there to protect us from the vast increase in criminality and mayhem that would otherwise surely exist if we were foolish enough to prohibit them.


When governments prohibit drugs they effectively and knowingly hand a monopoly on their sale to dangerous criminals and terrorists. Without a legal framework in which to operate, these black-market entities can always be expected to settle their disputes violently, while terrorizing many peaceful and innocent citizens in the process. Were the users of alcohol to blame for the St Valentines massacre in 1929? Of course not! It is just as naive to assume that one can compel all the users of Marijuana or Cocaine to simply quit, as it is to assume that all the users of Alcohol should have stopped drinking after the introduction of alcohol prohibition in 1919.


Nobody can be expected to obey bad laws, like ones that infringe on logic as well as the fundamental right to decide on what medicine or poison an individual adult may, or may not, ingest. The corruption, violence and death ultimately arising from such bad public policy should always rest squarely on the shoulders of those ignorant imbeciles who are responsible for implementing and supporting such foolishness.


Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare; if you support it you must be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, insane or corrupt.


“The greater the number of laws, the more corrupt the republic.” Tacitus