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Related Categories: U.S. | Drug War
Nevada medical marijuana activist arrested on drug charge
by Las Vegas Sun
Tuesday Jun 21st, 2005 11:58 AM
A medical marijuana activist was in custody Thursday after his second arrest in 17 months on felony drug charges.
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June 16, 2005

Nevada medical marijuana activist arrested on drug charge
By KEN RITTER
ASSOCIATED PRESS

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A medical marijuana activist was in custody Thursday after his second arrest in 17 months on felony drug charges.

A lawyer for Pierre Werner, 33, said the arrest on state charges was a law enforcement effort to pressure Werner after the Supreme Court's decision this month that state medical marijuana laws don't protect users from federal prosecution. Werner also faces state marijuana possession charges from a previous arrest.

"The DEA is flexing their power," lawyer Ryan Mortier said after visiting Werner at the Clark County jail in Las Vegas. "They're saying they're not going to tolerate all the media attention he's been getting."

Mike Flanagan, assistant special Drug Enforcement Administration agent in Las Vegas, acknowledged a DEA agent went to Werner's home in Henderson after police served a warrant at the house Wednesday and arrested Werner.

But while federal agents were monitoring Werner's case, Flanagan said it was being handled by Las Vegas police and state prosecutors.

Werner faces felony charges of possession of marijuana with intent to sell, and maintaining a place to sell a controlled substance, Las Vegas police Officer Jose Montoya said.

Werner was due Friday in Las Vegas Justice Court, his lawyer said.

The nation's highest court ruled 6-3 on June 6 that state medical marijuana laws don't protect users from federal prosecution. Nevada is one of 10 states that allow registered medical patients to use marijuana with a doctor's approval.

Werner has said he uses marijuana to relieve symptoms of bipolar disorder, and wants to be able to provide marijuana to others registered with the state Department of Agriculture for use of medical marijuana. State officials say about 600 people are in the program.

Werner was arrested in January 2004 and charged with possessing 27 marijuana plants at his home. He was dropped from the state's medical marijuana registry because criminal charges are pending from that arrest, Mortier said.

Werner's company, Primary Caregivers and Consultants, helps people who need medical marijuana find a doctor and grow the plants.

He has tried unsuccessfully to obtain business licenses to serve as a marijuana consultant and to open a lounge where medical marijuana could be smoked.

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Metro Makes One Of Largest Marijuana Busts In Recent Years


Metro Makes One Of The Biggest Marijuana Busts In Recent Years

He's been an outspoken advocate for the cause of "medical marijuana," but last night, Pierre Werner was put behind bars, charged with being a big-time drug dealer. Metro narcotics officers say over the past 24-hours they have seized stashes of marijuana valued at more than 750,000 dollars. News 3's Steve Crupi reports from the Clark County Jail.

This is one of the biggest pot busts we've seen in recent years. And what makes this one so unusual is the fact that the man under arrest here has been very open about his marijuana use, allegedly for medical purposes. But police say when they searched Werner's two homes in Las Vegas , they found a drug operation much more sophisticated than anyone expected.

Dried up pot leaves still litter the driveway of the Las Vegas home; Police confiscated 121 marijuana plants, and glass jars containing 10 pounds of finished product. Police photos show a hydroponics growing system that police say allowed Pierre Werner to operate a sophisticated marijuana farm.

"It was as far as we're concerned a very substantial drug trafficking operation in Las Vegas."

Police say the plants discovered here were of a very advanced variety, producing a very potent type of drug.

"These residential marijuana grows are putting out extremely high quality marijuana in terms of THC."

Pierre Werner has been an activist in support of "medical marijuana," and it was just 10 days ago that News 3 shot video of Werner at his home, as he freely displayed some his merchandise, and talked about what he would do if arrested.

"And if I'm in prison I plan on conducting a hunger strike."

Werner says he is licensed by the State of Nevada to use marijuana for treatment of his mental illness. But police say what they found in here, goes way beyond any form of legitimate medical use.

We spoke with Pierre Werner's attorney last night; he says he's concerned for his clients’ health while in jail. He's hoping that his client will still be allowed to have his prescribed 10 marijuana joints a day. Nearly 600 Nevadans have a doctor's permission to use medical marijuana. State law allows them to escape criminal prosecution only if they have an ounce or less of the drug.

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