|Photo: Bayou Perspective|
A Colorado search warrant executed Tuesday authorized the seizure of records for more than 300 medical marijuana card holders, including doctors’ recommendations and personal contact information.
The warrant was issued after officers from the Grand Junction Police Department were called out Tuesday to investigate a suspicious odor emanating from a building near the offices of the U.S. Census Bureau, reports Paul Shockley at The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.
The warrant, signed by District Judge Thomas Deister, allowed for Western Colorado Drug Task Force officers to confiscate records “in order to verify who the current primary caregiver is” for the approximately 308 patient files found inside a large marijuana grow.
|Photo: Eagle County Sheriff’s Office|
The warrant further allowed for the seizure of records and receipts indicating payment for marijuana sales and purchases, in addition to “photographs, video and samples of the marijuana plants in the business.”
“Task Force officers are looking to go through the records present to determine if they have adequate current medical marijuana card holders present to support the presence of over 1,000 marijuana plants,” an affidavit said.
The warrant was obtained after an employee with the U.S. Census Bureau, which is located in another unit at the same building, called authorities Tuesday afternoon reporting a strong “chemical odor” seeping from the ventilation system.
The employee called the Grand Junction Fire Department, claiming he thought there was a fire, the affidavit said. The employee claimed he saw a man exit the rear of the complex, before the man ran back inside and locked a door behind him.
“[Employee] observed what he thought were probably grow lights inside while the door was open,” the affidavit said.
Officers said they noticed “a strong odor of marijuana” standing 10 feet from the building’s back door.
The owner of the marijuana grow operation told the officers it was legal and allowed them inside the building. A second man told officers that the grow had been up and running since October and they were growing for Naturals Wellness Center, a medical marijuana dispensary in Grand Junction.
As pointed out by a commenter on the original newspaper story, according to Colorado’s medical marijuana law, caregivers may cultivate “No more than six marijuana plants, with three or fewer being mature, flowering plants that are producing a usable form of marijuana” per patient.
With roughly 300 patients and about 1,000 plants, if 10 percent or more of the plants weren’t yet mature, this was a legal grow under Colorado law.