Marijuana laws compete in drug investigation


INDUSTRY — Police arrested a man on drug trafficking charges after searching a home at 24 Shadagee Road on Tuesday and finding materials associated with “Molly,” a substance similar to Ecstasy.

They also found an organic marijuana cultivation and one resident with medical authorization for marijuana but more plants than the law allows.

Confusion between the state’s medical marijuana and cultivating marijuana laws caused Maine Drug Enforcement Agency to seek an interpretation from the attorney general before filing charges for the marijuana, Gerry Baril, MDEA supervisor said.

Christopher M. Sirois, 37, was arrested on a felony charge of trafficking an illegal drug when MDEA agents and officers from Franklin County Sheriff’s Department went to the home with a search warrant as part of an ongoing investigation, Baril said.

They found a metal container with white powder residue from Molly, which is a combination of an hallucinogen and a stimulant usually sold illegally in the gelatin capsules or small baggies, he said.

They also found a container with 50 empty gelatin, clear capsules, a digital scale with powder residue and a container with small plastic baggies, he said.

Police charged Sirois with trafficking and possession with an intent to distribute Molly, Baril said.

Police also found marijuana plants growing in soil with lights. There were 19 flowering marijuana plants, 44 others, more than 2 feet tall but not flowering, and 163 seedlings, apparently cuttings from the mature plants.

Sirois has no medical authorization as a patient or caregiver but another resident, a 44-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis had medical papers dating back to 2002 and medical authorization from another physician in 2009 for marijuana treatment, Baril said.

Both claimed to be conscientious objectors, meaning they refuse to register with the Department of Health and Human Services for fear their identity and information would be released to others, he said.

The dilemma for police comes from two competing laws, Baril said.

According to the law, a medical marijuana patient can have up to six flowering plants and possess 2½ ounces of processed marijuana. The plants need to be female, a foot-tall and a foot wide and flowering, he said.

According to the criminal code, growing marijuana or cultivation of it is illegal. Marijuana is defined as every part including leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds of all species of the plant genus cannabis, growing or not.

The law includes misdemeanor charges for cultivation of five or fewer plants or more than five but fewer than 100 plants. Felony charges include quantities of more than 100 but fewer than 500 and for more than 500 plants.

The woman was allowed to choose six flowering plants and the remaining 220 were taken by police, Baril said.

Charges are pending depending on the interpretation of the laws by Maine’s attorney general, Baril said.

Sirois does not have medical authorization as a patient or caregiver and the woman with medical authorization may face charges for having more than the amount allowed under Maine’s medical marijuana laws, he said.

Sirois was released from Franklin County Detention Center on $3,000 unsecured bail Tuesday with a court appearance scheduled for Sept. 23.

MDEA agents started an investigation a year ago based on information someone living there was involved in trafficking, Baril said. Within the last couple weeks, more information came to light causing the officers to search the home, he said.

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