Gilbert Police Storm Home, Seize Two Ounces of Marijuana From Card-Holding Medical Pot Patient. Really.

Categories: Medical Weed
cannabis patient screening logo.JPG
Image: azcannabiscenters.com
The owner of Cannabis Patient Screening Centers, Ross Taylor, had his Gilbert home raided last week by police looking for an ounce of marijuana.

Twenty Gilbert police officers, some in masks and riot gear, stormed a home last week after receiving a tip that the owner was in possession of an ounce of marijuana.

The homeowner, Ross Taylor, is a card-carrying patient under Arizona's new medical-marijuana law, which allows people to qualify to possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of pot legally. He's also the owner of Cannabis Patient Screening Centers, a new company that hooks up patients with doctors for medical pot recommendations.

After handcuffing Taylor and his wife, the cops served a search warrant on the home and found two ounces of marijuana a small amount of hashish, which is just concentrated marijuana. Police seized the "medicine" and some paraphernalia from an upstairs closet, even though the total weight of the weed was under the legal threshhold, then told Taylor he'll probably be hearing from the prosecutor's office about criminal charges.

Sergeant Bill Balafas, Gilbert PD spokesman, tells New Times that because Taylor bought the pot from another person, as opposed to growing it himself, the possession wasn't legal despite his status as a patient.

"People are being harassed," says Taylor, who called New Times this week to report the tale of law enforcement overkill. "They want political control."

We're still waiting for the release of the police report, but for now, Balafas confirms many of Taylor's details.

Besides the waste of resources for a pot-possession bust, the incident also reveals the state of confusion that reigns following November's passage of Proposition 203 by Arizona voters.

According to Balafas, Gilbert's drug-enforcement squad received information that Taylor had an ounce of pot in his home. Police had no idea Taylor owned a medical-marijuana company or that he had a valid registration card, Balafas says.

That's the first problem, as we see it: Cops went through the trouble of drafting a search warrant and having it signed by a judge, but apparently they didn't bother to check in with the state Department of Health Services to find out if Taylor was in the patient registry, which he was.

About 6:30 p.m. last Thursday, the raiding party cut the power and water in the home, (presumably to stop anyone from shoving the pot down the garbage disposal or toilet.) They knocked and "screamed" they had a search warrant, Taylor says, so he let them in.

Taylor, who's from Phoenix but has lived for the last couple of years in Prescott, had just obtained title on his new Gilbert home the week before and was in the process of moving in.

Kevin Anderson, a manager with All My Sons Moving and Storage, says three of his employees were handcuffed after the cops -- some with shields and holding shotguns -- came in with the announcement that they were the "SWAT" team. The three movers were detained for about an hour until cops let them go, Anderson says.

Taylor, meanwhile, showed the cops his registration card. One of the masked officers told him, "I don't even know if you're supposed to have this card," and referred to the state lawsuit against the voter-approved law.

Balafas doesn't think the officer said that. However, Balafas did back a related detail.

Taylor informed the officers that he'd bought the pot from another qualified patient, and they told him that means he wasn't legally in possession of the weed. During the raid, police called the state health department and were told that patients "cannot legally buy from anyone else," says Balafas.

He did not know the name of the DHS representative who was contacted. Laura Oxley, spokeswoman for DHS, is trying to find out for us.

We believe, based on a reading of the law and interviews in the last few months with state officials and advocates of the law, that qualified patients can legally possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of pot no matter where it came from. According to Arizona statute:

A. There is a presumption that a qualifying patient or designated caregiver is engaged in the medical use of marijuana pursuant to this chapter.
1. The presumption exists if the qualifying patient or designated caregiver:
(a) Is in possession of a registry identification card.
(b) Is in possession of an amount of marijuana that does not exceed the allowable amount of marijuana.

The state DHS also weighs in on this issue in its FAQs about the law:

QP30: Where can I legally buy marijuana if I am a qualifying patient?
Qualifying patients can obtain medical marijuana from a dispensary, the qualifying patient's designated caregiver, another qualifying patient, or, if authorized to cultivate, from home cultivation.

The hashish isn't covered at all under the law, says spokesman Bill Balafas, so it's always illegal. We're still trying to find out if that's true. If so, it would be nothing less than a loophole that cops can use to bust qualified patients who have converted pot plants into a more concentrated form. Hash is sold in various forms, such as hash cake, kief, or hash oil, in dispensaries in California and Colorado, where it's also commonly used in pot-infused food products.

Ultimately, police seized the pot but didn't take Taylor to jail. Prosecutors can file charges weeks or months from now, if they so choose.

Balafas denies that Taylor was targeted because of his involvement in the pot industry, (again, he says cops didn't know that until after serving the warrant.)

"We do not do anything based on political issues," the police spokesman says. "We are completely, 100 percent criminal enforcement."

Yeah, maybe -- but what criminal? Taylor has no criminal record that we could find online, and he appears to have been legal under the new law.

Gilbert Police Chief Tim Dorn couldn't be bothered to call us back after we left a message for him.

Taylor says he's not sure why police targeted him, but admits that a satellite TV installer spotted a bag of pot in his closet the morning of the raid, and surmises that could have been the source of the cops' tip.

"Maybe this was their way of saying 'Welcome to Gilbert!'" Taylor says of the police.

For now, the East Valley town just might be one place for qualified medical-marijuana patients to avoid. We'll revisit this tale once we learn more.


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52 comments
efarretta
efarretta

Gilbert police pulled me over one evening at 12 midnight after working 10 hours on my rental Property when tenant wreck my house. I found 2 jars of pot and being a card caring patient I took them from house. It was not very good weed at all. Got pulled over by Gilbert police due to tail light out. Pot was on seat and I did not try to hide it. I was detailed on side of road for one and a half hours while car was searched. I got a lectured by one officer about pot so I replied by talking badly about alcohol and how it has ruined millions of lives. During the search they had found real hand cuffs in my car that were from rental and asked what I used them for I told them came from cleaning out rental. Then he asked me when was the last time I used METH replied NEVER just because I am small guy I was very insulted. Towards the end they found my bag I carry for wallet and stuff do to my back problem Scoliosis with degenerative back disease. I never carry wallet in back of pants adds to my pain he asked to search and I replied no you are either taking me to jail or I am going home you pick. He passed back my license and pot card and let me go not before saying why just go handcuff yourself to your steering wheel. That pissed me off so called his supervisor to complain about the 2 comments regarding meth and handcuffs of course nothing happened to him. After getting new tenant two policemen showed up at my rental and said they heard there was a grow operation there. So my tenant requested to get money back and moved out thinking people would be showing up to get pot. Never grew pot cannot even keep house plants alive. I have now decided to sell the house in Gilbert because I feel like since my complaint I do not have a chance renting without harassment. Now with upcoming surgery's and unable to work I have almost lost my house of 14 years. I still have allot of work on house before selling. No income has brought needed repairs to a halt. All because my right were abused the night I got pulled over and said something to supervisor. Gilbert seems to be a country of its own run by relatives of Adolf Hitler. I have never even been in trouble with law in my life as adult of 56 years old. Not even traffic ticket until recently and guess where Gilbert. I fought ticket but with officer actually lied under oath but that is another story all together. Not all officers are bad but when it comes to Gilbert most are NFG.I truly believe they ran my new tenants out to bust my balls.

shagnasty
shagnasty

Perhaps the gilbert police department should see if they could get a persciption to mellow them out. Or at least stop smokeing the meth they get from the true criminals.

Exador
Exador

Good luck.  It's pretty much the same all over the country, except maybe Alaska.

Whitneymsr
Whitneymsr

This evolution of events, ie the swat team rousting a citizen for possession of a legal drug, is

evidence that there are too many police and they are paid too much and actually are a

detriment to society. 

We are an overtaxed citizenry, in a country going broke, and the police are running wild.

We need to start decreasing the police forces in all Valley cities.

Think freedom folks !

1984_Orwell
1984_Orwell

I would be afraid to look up making hashish for fear of having a SWAT team sent to my house.  :-)

Gtw
Gtw

They probably shot his dog though, guaranteed...

ZeD
ZeD

I sure sleep well at night knowing that our Boys in Blue are out there, running down these AWFUL CRIMINALS that are, you know, "on that pot", and all. Uh-huh, fer shure, yeppers.

wejustenforcethem
wejustenforcethem

Just remember, if there's an *actual crime* going on, and you really want to guarantee that the police will arrive, just call 911 and tell them a brown person is selling a dime bag on your property; there will be twenty COPS, a SWAT Team, the fire department, ambulances, etc. there in two minutes, probably. 

Chris
Chris

They only knocked because the door bell wouldn't ring because they cut the electricity and water. Welcome to Gilbert...

Chris
Chris

It's called a smart phone where yes you can type messages. You just have to be smart to understand what that means

Chris
Chris

Yes, that's proven. It's obvious that say even if he was guilty not only did him and his wife get detained the moving company employees were held at gunpoint (shotguns) none the less and handcuffed for what, helping a family move into their new home.

Heaven forbid when police just start holding anyone at gunpoint because they happen to be in a public place while they are conducting a raid. Almost makes you feel like you can't even go out anymore to keep safe from the ones who are supposed to be protecting you. What a shame.

Chris
Chris

How dare you. Making a statement like that and saying "Just think of the kids". By the way I hope you realize calling someone a bastard and criminal is defamation of character which is punishable in court paid for by your dear taxpayers and yours truly.

Jafafa Hots
Jafafa Hots

Someday the "law and order" voters will recognize that the police are the enemy.What is it about those who complain about government the loudest, that they are the ones most supportive of agents of the government invading homes, breaking laws and ruining lives?

Cognitive disconnect - and they aren't even stoned.

Coz
Coz

All pigs are stereotyping assholes.

Rodat6
Rodat6

Damn Joseph Goebbles would be so proud of the Gilbert Swat team.  Heil.

words
words

Jinx = Arizonan lol

Trying to convince yourself that you are right? hahah

Albert
Albert

Sorry.. but ARS 36-2801 (15)  Usable Marijuana... any plant mixture or preparation thereof..

J Curwen
J Curwen

Everyone doesn't know that, because it isn't true. The medical marijuana law is NOT on hold. It remains law. The state has merely (and possibly illegally) decided to cease issuing dispensary permits for teh time being. Every other part of that law is still functional. There have been no court rulings on this statute.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Thank you Mistalee!  I have finally seen in your post what this reporter and all others should be  pointing out each and every time there is a story about a drug bust.  If we don't know our history, we will continue to repeat it.  The destruction of the "anti-happiness" police bureaucracy is and should remain our focus.  These forces are ingrained in human dna - making other people who are not in our "group" miserable is a hallmark of human beings - and, like raping and pillaging, need to be controlled by our laws, not encouraged.

I've pointed this out so many times on these blog pages - I'm so happy to see someone finally echoing those sentiments.

The basis of our Constitution is the Pursuit of Happiness - the people who create, maintain and enforce these laws are not only in congress with the criminals who exploit the increased value of these HAPPINESS producing substances because of the prohibitions against them - they are traitors to the cause of our founders - to create a society free from government interference in the Citizens' creator-given right to pursue their own happiness from whatever perspective they wish. 

Alcohol was the founders drug of choice and was extensively used to get "Happy."  Alcohol was declared illegal in this country.  We found that prohibition to cause more problems then it solved and repealed it.  We should learn from history and kick the pigs to the curb.

Cybercy
Cybercy

They wanted his property.  They could care less about the weed.  If you're busted in your home, the police can take your car, house, anything else of value saying that you bought these things from drug profits and then sell them at auction - 100% profit!  Easy Money!

ZachHenry
ZachHenry

Obviously those who issued him his card are buying it.  Your doubts are after the fact and irrelevant.

Joel Z Williams
Joel Z Williams

I love the passive-aggressive line in this story. "The Police Chief couldn't be bothered to return our phone call"  You just don't get that kind of high quality snark from other AZ news sources! Keep up the good work NT.

Bsolliday08
Bsolliday08

I've been arrested for posession by chief Dorn himself. All I gotta say is, what a stereotyping asshole. I wasn't even high at the time and my 2 grams were in my trunk(obviously couldn't smell it), and he immediately suspected me of holding because of my appearance. Gilbert pd, and all agencies for that matter, need to focus on issues that actually matter.

ILike
ILike

 Someone supposedly tipped them off that that this law abiding patient who is registered with the state had Marijuana and 1. They got a warrant based on hearsay of possession of a plant. 2. They didn't bother to check with ADHS. 3. They needed more than 1 or maybe 2 officers to investigate this victimless "crime". 

They're roughing him up because he's involved with a MMJ business! When the criminals have badges/swastikas we're all screwed!

ILike
ILike

How can the police be expected to make time to comprehend the law when they need to spend all that time gearing up in thousands of dollars in tax payer funded tactical accessories to go and play warrior against peaceful LAW ABIDING citizens?! Good thing he wasn't playing video games with one of those toys that slightly resembles a firearm they would have shot him 70 times!

So if the the police are the lawless home invading terrorists, who are the good guys? Oh gone are the days of honorable human beings that defended innocent citizens with a genuine intent to protect and serve, now all we have are methed up, steroided out, armed to the teeth natzi storm troopers!

I truly hope the lawsuit further bankrupts the City of Gilbert, the elected fool hatemongers tend to react when they lose funds to skim off of.

eastvalley
eastvalley

Terrifying that local police don't even know the law. Lucky no one was hurt. SWAT raids are like game day for meatheads.

eastvalley
eastvalley

It would appear that the dumb one is you. 

Hash is indeed a narcotic. Just like many of the other narcotics found in your local Walgreens. And under the guidance of a physician, hash is also legal to use in Arizona, just like the narcotics at your local Walgreens.

Also, everyone SHOULD know (but apparently do not) that the new laws regarding Medical Marijuana are NOT "on hold". The law regarding Medical Marijuana has not changed and the State Legislature has no authority to do so.

eastvalley
eastvalley

I love how some are so quick to judge others. Makes me wonder what skeletons you might be hiding in YOUR closet. Hmmm

LiveInGilbertConcentrationCamp
LiveInGilbertConcentrationCamp

Nothing is as dangerous as armed Gilbert Police.  These are sick, sick MORMONS, that want to kill and steal from everyone that isn't MORMON.  Taylor should sue for title to all Town of GIlbert buildings, courts and property. 

oblivioustosarcasm?
oblivioustosarcasm?

You use marijuana, that's why!.. Why I bet you even pop an aspirin or two from time to time.. ugh disgusting.

Whyareyouwastingmytaxes
Whyareyouwastingmytaxes

You obviously don't understand sarcasm, you're an idiot. If you truly think I'd go around advocating the use of tax-funded paramilitary groups to bust someone consuming something as harmless as coffee, you are a fucking moron. Alas, you must lack reading comprehension skills if you're the same person who thinks educating people can be done with force.Don't read the onion, or anything else containing satire, you're too dumb to realize what it truly is.. I mean, good catch on my user handle being "whyareyouwastingmytaxes".Good day,Sir

Harry Wisencraker Jr.
Harry Wisencraker Jr.

Welcome to the Gestapo! The powers to be do after all have the right to fully exercise all the powers they have given themselves.  It is their right, they do know the laws, they created them, and by the gods if your gonna make laws it might as well benefit you and your friends.  They are like the pharaohs of Egypt, demigods are exactly what believe themselves to be.

Hock
Hock

At best there's a conflict of law.  If there's a conflict, then you go to intent.  Hash is legal as part of the medicinal MJ program.

Haywood Jablowme
Haywood Jablowme

However, if your first name is Jose, the ambulances that are required to treat the 22 high velocity round holes in your chest will be held at the end of the street until you bleed out 15 minutes later in front of your wife and child. I loved AZ when I moved here. I only fear it now...

Douchebag McGee
Douchebag McGee

Can you really be that fucking dumb?  There are multiple posts above yours that explain the obvious sarcasm in that post.  I am beginning to think they should recriminalize marijuana since its valiant defenders are drooling retards.

Coz
Coz

They are if you believe in being free, that's for sure.

>>Someday the "law and order" voters will recognize that the police are the enemy.

Fred Flintsone
Fred Flintsone

we're all screwed. authorities are corrupt at all levels now.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

That's if you understand the purpose for that freedom: The Pursuit of Happiness.  This is what these EVIL people are into - the denial, through government interference, of the Pursuit of Happiness on the part of the victims of police brutality and over-reach.

Keep that one thing in mind in all you do in this Country.  It is the SINGLE one thing that our Constitution was designed to prevent - government intrusion into a citizen's Pursuit of Happiness, in WHATEVER way that citizen defines happiness. 

It is not up to you, the City Council, the State Legislature, the Congress or the Police to determine for another citizen how that person will pursue their own Happiness. 

Please condemn in the strongest possible way any attempt by anyone to deny another their pursuit of happiness and we will be a strong and successful country. 

Remember: A Happy Citizenry is a Happy Country, and a Happy Country is a Strong Country.

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