Meet Kirk Stewart, Prop. 215 poster boy

Pot grower sues for ‘lost profit’

A Gasquet man currently facing marijuana-sales charges has sued the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office for “lost profit” after his marijuana plants were destroyed prior to the dismissal of a previous marijuana-sales case.

Kirk David Stewart, 45, filed the suit Jan. 2, claiming the Sheriff’s Office should have returned 93 confiscated plants to Stewart — or at least the cash amount that could have been made by harvesting them.

The suit states that “Mr. Stewart is requesting the fair market value” of the 93 marijuana plants that were destroyed.

“If there is any truth to the true market value of the marijuana the (Drug) Task Force say they are taking off the streets, then Mr. Stewart’s plants are worth upwards of several hundred thousand dollars,” said Jon Alexander, Stewart’s attorney.
Stewart was arrested in January 2007 after a search warrant was served on a Crescent City residence on Union Street that he owned.

Authorities confiscated 93 plants along with numerous items used to grow marijuana, including grow lights, exhaust fans, ballasts and pots.

The suit alleges that Alexander sent a request to the Sheriff’s Office in August 2007 asking for the return of the plants confiscated from Stewart.

In April 2008, the charges against Stewart were dismissed by the DA’s office because Stewart was found to be in compliance with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Proposition 215), according to the suit.

“He brought these certificates saying there were 10 people he was in care for,” said District Attorney Mike Riese.

Alexander said Stewart’s case should not have taken as long as it did to be dismissed.

“His case did not need to languish for an entire year — allowing his marijuana to rot,” the lawyer said.

In May 2008, the growing equipment had been returned to Stewart at the Sheriff’s Office, but the plants were not, the suit states.

A copy of the evidence release form included in the lawsuit states, “unable to release MJ plants — they were destroyed.”

Riese suggested another reason why the Sheriff’s Office doesn’t ever give back confiscated drugs after a case is dismissed.

“The feds don’t recognize Prop. 215,” he said. “Under federal law, marijuana is an illegal substance.”

The DA said the Sheriff’s Office abides by federal laws and if it gave drugs back to someone who was exonerated, the office could be under federal suspicion for drug trafficking.

“If they do something with it — it’s part of a distribution chain,” said Riese.

Stewart now faces several new marijuana-sales charges.

He is charged in Del Norte County with planting and cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, selling in lieu of a controlled substance (trading in drugs) and being a felon in possession of a firearm, said  Riese.

Stewart was arrested at his trailer in Gasquet last April 17 with Fred Kenneth Otremba, 48, of Crescent City, after the federal Drug Enforcement Agency served a search warrant at the trailer with the help of the Sheriff’s Office.

Otremba is currently facing a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The Sheriff’s Office said Otremba and Stewart were trimming marijuana when authorities arrived.

The DEA confiscated 100 pounds of processed marijuana, 22 firearms and 84 plants, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Riese said that because the two men were in Del Norte County when they were arrested, he filed local charges against them — so he wouldn’t have to wait for federal charges to be filed.

Riese said the men have appeared in court and the case will most likely go to trial.

Stewart has already voiced the defense of being a Prop. 215 caregiver just like he did in 2007, Riese said.

“It’s the same thing, he’s saying they are compassionate caregivers —they gave a certificate saying ‘these are the people we care for,’” said Riese.

“So I said, ‘prove it,’” he said, adding that in 2007 Stewart wasn’t required to prove he had been the caretaker of his “clients.”

Riese said Stewart provided him with nearly a dozen of the Prop 215 certificates for the new case.

Alexander has since filed a motion to suppress the warrant that led to the DEA confiscation of the processed marijuana, plants and firearms.

Stewart was already convicted around a decade ago in Del Norte County for marijuana sales, said Riese.

Riese said Stewart was sentenced  to 180 days in jail and felony probation after he was found guilty of being in possession of a 10-pound bag of pot for sale.

The DA did not think the Prop. 215 compliance defense will work because of the 100 pounds of pot that were found in the new case.

“It’s just not going to fly this time,” said Riese.

Sheriff Dean Wilson said that he felt the suit misrepresented Prop. 215.

“The law, the way that it states it, is ‘if I’m growing marijuana for medicinal purposes — I’m not allowed to make a profit from it,’” said Wilson.

“So how could he ask for the profit from the plants?” he said about Stewart and Alexander’s suit.

The sheriff said if Prop. 215 medicinal use is granted, the “personal use” pot is not to be sold or bartered with.

Wilson said that makes the suit’s claim for “lost profit” a moot point.

“If you’re not doing a commercial operation, then what is the profit of a plant that you can’t legally sell?” he asked.

Alexander called Wilson’s interpretation of Prop. 215 “simply not true.”

The attorney said, “I would like to see Sheriff Wilson’s socialist view of medicine extended to the country’s pharmaceutical companies.”

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25 Responses

  1. Wow. Interesting. Link coming.

    Doesn’t he have to PROVE that he is providing CARE, not just dope, now? New law, right? I doubt he is emptying bed pans.

  2. 100 POUNDS OF POT, people. “Compassionate use” my dumb white ass. What a load of crap.

  3. Of course your dumb ass is white.

  4. Here’s Eric’s post on that caregiver thing… Primary Care Giver needs to give more than marijuana
    Mendo D.A. says that the caregiver decision will change everything
    http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S148204.PDF

  5. Yeah well if it weren’t, it would totally clash with the rest of me.

  6. I know, too serious – I am sure there is a good joke in there somewhere.

  7. His ass is grass?

  8. His grass has passed?

  9. You people don’t know anything. If 10 pounds is compassion, 100 pounds must be LOVE.

  10. All perfectly legal, I’m sure.

  11. Do you know how much I hate it that you guys make me laugh?

  12. Aw c’mon, Kym. You don’t love us even a little? We totally love you, and not just because you’re hot.

  13. Is chicken “Gallego-ianos following this righteous case? What he worry? hell, he no care what another Bro may be doing in the DN courts chasing after the 215′ers/growers.Great article but it sucks for Humboldt.Were still getting screwed by Paulie boy.Make it local-Del Norte isn’t.

  14. If you could see my mouth, you would see how prissy it gets reading you and then …wham, something like the tags up above and I start snickering. Finally, I just surrender and laugh. But it is wrong and I am bad.

  15. You see bugs..

    That’s why we need palm trees.

    Very big ones

  16. No, wildeyes, Paul’s not allowed to practice law in Del Norte County, so I have heard.

  17. Sweet mother of god, Kym. You do NOT want us thinking about your mouth. Quick–someone tell the Humboldt Mirror Extended Staff Committee to hurry up with that cold PBR shower!!

  18. Bugs, we forwarded you a LARGE photo of “Bonnie Dicknose” which should do the trick to take your mind off of Kym’s lips.

    And Kym, please don’t mention your mouth, other body parts and or other suggestive gestures. We have only narrowly revived the Bugs from their winter slumber and don’t want to hamper the flurry of recent posts. Thank you.

  19. Heh HUM with the full moon just passing you’re letting your brain turn to mush with big lips Kym.Slam a 6 pak of PBR and get over it.Drolling is for babies and old farts in their 90′s. Are you’all one of them? Not!?!? Shape up and get your big head in control.

  20. [...] 14, 2009 in Uncategorized | Tags: Del Norte, medical marijuana Speaking of marijuana, this defendant is suing Del Norte County for lost profits due to their destuction at the hands of law [...]

  21. Good to see the Graphics Department is back to work.

  22. But that’s just it, Carol. What you see above is a frigging RERUN, thank you very much. The lazy bastards!! There goes their MLK Day bonus.

  23. Hey Bugs, Your missing the boat. Bon Bon just shit her pants (possible memo to graphics) and Girard is packing his suitcase. HumCPR’s announcement of the hiring of Estell Fennell is going to knock them both down to size. We have possibly just witnessed the creation of the most formidable political powerhouse coalition in recent county history. We might actually get a General Plan that reflects the peoples wishes instead of the nonsense that Cobb and Co were force feeding us. A good day indeed!

  24. You know, intelligent people wouldn’t open their mouths like venus fly traps until they’ve gotten ALL the CORRECT information, and have RESEARCHED it, before they make a decision on what their opinion is. On the other hand, ignorant people, and when I say ignorant, I mean in the most respective way “dumb asses” open their traps and just ramble useless garbage that makes no sense, is a complete lie, and insults the intelligence of people in general.

    Kirk is in no way “breaking the law” The real crime, in fact, lies in the DNC Sheriffs Office. They are NOT complying with state laws, which the State Police Dept. DOES have the right to stop them, which obviously they haven’t. Kirk has provided WAY more than enough evidence to prove that he was in compliance. The DNC Sheriffs Office on the other hand can’t figure out if they confiscated an “estimated” amount of somewhere between 300-500 lbs.

    They also gave Kirks grandmother a heart attack when they ILLEGALLY raided his house, so you ALL tell me who the REAL criminals are. Someone in compliance with Prop. 215 who provided more than enough proof, OR a police dept that can’t even keep their figures straight, let alone charge these people the right way. These people have BOGUS charges on them that is a total farse!!!

    So, now that I’ve said my peace, people, do your research and make sure you are not giving your opinion on a complete LIE. Kirk and Fred are INNOCENT. If anything they are heroes for providing proper medicine to sick people who NEED it!!
    Thanks

  25. Cry us a river, bitchcakes.

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