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Washington v. Fry

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Police officers arrived at Defendant’s home when they were notified that he was growing marijuana. When they arrived, the smelled marijuana. Defendant refused to consent to a search, and Tina Fry showed the officer Defendant’s medical marijuana authorization. The officer’s obtained a search warrant, found over two pounds of marijuana, and arrested Defendant. Defendant moves to suppress the marijuana, and the Court denies the motion and holds Defendant is not entitled to the authorization of medical marijuana benefits because he is not a qualified patient.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    When an authorization of marijuana does not clearly meet all the elements to claim the benefits of a qualified patient, the individual is not entitled to the benefits under the statute.

    Facts.

    Police officers were notified that a marijuana growing operation was present at Jason and Tina Fry’s residence. The officer went to the residence, approached the home, and smelled marijuana burning. Jason did not consent to a search of the residence, however, Tina showed the officers documentation authorizing them to posses medical marijuana. The officers subsequently obtained a search warrant and entered the Fry’s residence. Once inside, the officer seized over two pounds of marijuana. Jason was charged with possession of marijuana. Jason moved to suppress the marijuana, but the judge denied his motion, finding Jason did not have a qualifying condition. Fry appealed both rulings.

    Issue.

    Whether the trial court erred in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress and holding Defendant did not have a qualifying condition to possess medical authorization of marijuana.

    Held.

    No, the trial court erred in denying the Defendant’s motion to suppress and holding Defendant did not have a qualifying condition because Defendant did not have one of the debilitating conditions as described under the statute.

    Concurrence.

    As a matter of law, Defendant did have a qualifying condition, regardless if the Defendant’s doctor used unartful words on his authorization. The authorization not only indicates that Defendant was suffering from severe anxiety and rage, but also that he had a scar behind his right ear and on his chin from being injured by a horse. Thus, Fry could have been suffering from neck and lower back pain. The Defendant should have been allowed to present his case to a jury in which the jury would conclude whether Defendant had the requisite symptoms to qualify him as a qualified patient.

    Discussion.

    The element Defendant was missing to be deemed a qualified patient was a diagnosis that he was suffering from a “terminal or debilitating medical condition.†Defendant’s doctor indicated that he was suffering from severe anxiety and rage, which did not expressly fall into the statute, even as amended in 2007. RCW 69.51A.010. The court refused to extend the statute to permit an individual that has met all but one of conditions of a qualified patient to claim the statute’s benefits.



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