Colorado Man Facing 10 Years To Life In Pot Case


Photo: 9News
Chris Bartkowicz’s TV appearance led to the loss of his freedom and all his plants

​Chris Bartkowicz is facing 10 years to life in federal prison — and up to a $4 million fine — for growing more than 100 medical marijuana plants in his Highlands Ranch, Colorado basement.

Bartkowicz was indicted Tuesday by a U.S. District Court grand jury on three felony counts, and he appeared in court Wednesday, waiving a reading of the charges against him, reports Felisa Cardona at The Denver Post.
According to the federal indictment, Bartkowicz grew more than 100 plants with the intent to distribute marijuana, maintained a “drug-involved premise” and conducted that business near a school — all, mind you, for growing medical cannabis legal under Colorado law.

Photo: 9News
Chris Bartkowicz in his $500,000 basement grow operation, just hours before his loose lips sunk the ship

​Bartkowicz could get a life term, if convicted, because he has two prior state drug convictions.
Bartkowicz says all the marijuana he grew was provided to medical marijuana patients or dispensaries. He has decided to fight the indictment, but he judging by how federal cases have gone down in California, another medical marijuana state, he won’t be able to use Colorado’s laws in his defense in federal court.
Prosecutors offered Bartkowicz a plea bargain in April, but he rejected it and decided to go to trial.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents raided Bartkowicz’s home in February, arresting him just hours after he boasted about his grow operation in a television interview.
In the ill-advised TV interview, the Highlands Ranch homeowner boasted of $400,000 profits he hoped to garner this year from his grow operation. He told Denver’s 9News he had a $500,000 grow operation in the basement of his $637,000 home, and let reporters film and broadcast footage of him tending his lush garden.
The agents found 225 marijuana plants in his basement. They claim he violated both state and federal laws by growing so many plants. The indictment also says he was distributing marijuana within 1,000 feet of Sand Creek Elementary School.
A June 14 trial date was set by Judge Philip A. Brimmer.