|Photo: Jerry McBride/The Durango Herald|
|Jessica Voden holds her medical marijuana registry certificate in her car at Fort Lewis College on Monday. Voden was ticketed by FLC Police for smoking marijuana Feb. 18 while sitting in her car in the parking lot.|
A Colorado college student with a medical marijuana I.D. card has been found guilty of smoking in her car. Now, because she was smoking marijuana in public, she may lose her medical marijuana card as a result of her “drug conviction.”
Jessica Voden, 22, had filed the paperwork for her card at the time of her ticket and trial, but had not received her official card until the day after the trial, reports Deb Stanley at 7News.
Voden was sitting in her parked car at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., in February when a parking attendant noticed her smoking pot and called campus police, reports Shane Benjamin at The Durango Herald.
Police issued Voden a ticket for smoking marijuana in public, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Voden decided to defend herself at her half-day jury trial in La Plata County Court last week, and was found guilty on all three counts. She will have to pay almost $500 in fines and court costs, complete 32 hours of community service and serve 15 days of monitored house arrest.
It is illegal to smoke marijuana, even medical marijuana, in public, and Voden was seen toking from outside her car, said Deputy District Attorney Aaryn Richardson.
In a Monday interview, Voden said she lived more than an hour away at the time, and commuted five days a week to attend college. She left her house at 6:30 a.m., and was at Fort Lewis College from 8 a.m. until p.m.
It is illegal to smoke marijuana while driving, she said, and the college does not provide a place for students who are cannabis patients to medicate.
She said it is ironic that the college plans to open a bar and grill on campus, but it shuns the use of medical marijuana.
“So I can go get drunk on campus, but I can’t medicate,” Voden said. “I find something wrong with that.”
“I really think that it’s not right that Fort Lewis doesn’t provide a place to do that,” she said.
Although patients aren’t allowed to smoke in public, it’s unfortunate that Voden was left with virtually no other option, according to Durango lawyer Stuart Prall, who represents marijuana dispensaries and patients.
It was unrealistic for her to go home because she lived more than an hour away in Pagosa Springs, Prall said. The most private location where she could medicate wasx in her her, he said.
“What a gray area,” Prall said Monday. “She should not have been smoking it in public, but she was in a difficult position as a patient.”
“I think we’ve lost sight of what’s important — that these patients need to get affordable meds, and we need to stop prosecuting people for using them,” Prall said.
According to spokesman Mitch Davis, the college does not take a position on medical marijuana.
“We’re simply following the law,” Davis said. “It’s not legal to smoke medical marijuana or any kind of marijuana in public, and that’s the law, so that’s what the college will uphold.”
Voden said she applied for her medical marijuana certification nine months ago, but it took until last Friday for Colorado to send her an official card.
Voden said she is considering an appeal because jurors were unable to see her official medical marijuana certification.
According to Voden, who has suffered from irritable bowel syndrome since the age of 16, she gets her medical marijuana from Nature’s Medicine in Durango — where she is now employed full time.