Medical marijuana trial testimony reveals deals – The Register

June 25th, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

GRANTS PASS — A drug trial in Grants Pass has opened a rare window into the dark side of a large-scale medical marijuana operation.

The prosecution’s star witness testified Thursday that large growers regularly use the cover of providing medicine for patients to pile up hundreds of pounds of illegal weed they can sell for big money on the black market at low risk of going to jail.

“Everybody’s in this for money. Don’t let anybody fool you,” Thomas Bledko, 51, testified in Josephine County Circuit Court. “It’s all done under the guise of being medical.”

Bledko turned state’s evidence in the trial of Brenda Thomas, the manager of the Hemp and Cannabis Foundation clinic in Grants Pass. The foundation, headed by longtime Portland marijuana activist Paul Stanford, has clinics in nine states, where doctors examine patients looking for state authorization to use pot to treat medical conditions.

Thomas has pleaded innocent to felony charges of manufacture and distribution of a controlled substance.

Police raided Thomas’ rural Wilderville home in October 2009 after a Las Vegas couple pulled over in a traffic stop on Interstate 5 near Ashland told investigators that they bought the pound of marijuana found in their car from Thomas. Investigators found 200 pounds of marijuana, much of it processed. The street value of that much marijuana is about $500,000.

Under Oregon’s medical marijuana law, patients can have someone else grow pot for them, but growers cannot charge patients for the marijuana they produce. They

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