PARIS — Police burned a stash of spoiled marijuana — valued at half a million dollars — seized in a raid last year in an apparent case of medical marijuana abuse that has yet to yield charges. 

Paris Police Department Det. Jeffrey Lange said Monday that the medical marijuana had wilted, molded and decomposed inside a steel vault during the 10 months it had been in lockup. 

After receiving a court order last week, police took the haul to a gravel pit away from residences, poured gasoline atop and ignited it, Lange said. 

Last September, police from Norway, Oxford and Paris seized 18 pounds of marijuana and 173 adult plants during a raid on two King Hill Road residences for violating a Department of Health and Human Services-issued license to legally cultivate and sell marijuana. At the time, police said the crop was worth $500,000. 

Also seized were seeds, buds, leaves, clear bags, cultivation equipment and a shotgun. Lange said the owner requested the equipment back, but it was denied. 

According to an affidavit in support of a search warrant conducted on Sept. 26, 2014, the caregiver requested additional police patrols, claiming individuals had been sneaking onto the site at night, trying to steal plants.

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At their request, police inspected three growing areas, finding a mix of flowering and non-flowering plants individually potted and growing in raised beds, according to Lange. 

The caregiver reportedly told Lange that three licensed caregivers cultivated plants for a total of 15 patients, as well as their own personal use. 

Although state law allows caregivers up to six plants per patient, Lange wrote that Department of Health and Human Services’ Medical Marijuana program manager Marietta D’Agostino found that the three persons involved in the operation had a total of three registered patients. Additionally, D’Agostino said caregiver and employee plants are barred from mingling.

Little apparent progress in the case has been made since. There were no arrests at the time and there have yet to be any indictments as a result of the raid. 

Lange said he was uncertain of the status of the court case, believing it still to be in the hands of Assistant Attorney General David Fisher. Neither Fisher nor attorney Gregory Braun, who is representing the caregiver, returned calls seeking comment Monday. 

The Sun Journal is not publishing the caregiver’s name, as the person does not face criminal charges.

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A drug conviction can bar a caregiver from obtaining a license. 

“It’s still in the process of being presented to a grand jury,” Lange said. “The assistant attorney general and the suspect are still in negotiations. All I can do is present the case and let him take it from there.” 

Medical marijuana became legal in 1999 through a statewide ballot referendum, allowing patients with certain illnesses a pathway to get a doctor’s permission to possess small amounts. 

It was later expanded, enabling licensed caregivers to cultivate up to six flowering plants per patient and to possess up to 2.5 ounces of processed marijuana per patient.

Per patient, they may also store a larger amount of “incidental” marijuana, intended to act as a bumper crop: up to 12 female non-flowering plants, an unlimited number of seedlings and up to eight pounds of dried, “unprepared” marijuana that require further processing. 

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