MOSCOW, Idaho -- Michael Adam Assenberg, the man arrested in early May for growing and distributing medicinal marijuana, plans to file a lawsuit against Whitman County.
He says officials violated several stipulations of the law when they destroyed 70 marijuana plants in his home.
"People can file lawsuits all they want, everything that the task force did was completely in the scope of the law," Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers, leader of the Quad Cities Drug Task Force, said. "He's certainly more than welcome to file a lawsuit, but I don't think he has any standing."
Assenberg claims to have found several reasons why officials violated the law in conducting the raid. He plans to have his attorney file a lawsuit by the time he has spoken at Seattle Hempfest this weekend.
No charges have been filed against Assenberg yet, which he said is because law enforcers can't find arguments to counter his claims. Myers said there hasn't been a pressing need to file charges against Assenberg because there are still details to work through, but the case is in the hands of Prosecutor Denis Tracy and charges will be filed in the near future.
Myers said when the entire case is presented, Assenberg will almost certainly face some kind of charges.
"It's not our intent to make Mr. Assenberg go to prison for a long period of time," Myers said. "The way the law is written, he wasn't following the law. He was outside of what the scope of the law intended."
Assenberg, 51, a medically prescribed user for back pain, says he started a business, Compassion 4 Patients and Adam's Incredible Medables, to help patients who had a difficult time finding resources for purchasing marijuana. He said he had his customers sign release forms allowing him to obtain medical information from their doctors to clarify that they had medical marijuana prescriptions, and also verified that the doctors were all in good standing with the Washington State Health Department.
The Quad Cities Drug Task Force discovered Assenberg had 82 plants in his home and destroyed everything but 12 plants in adult stage -- about 4 ounces of medicinal marijuana, which Assenberg said is "not nearly enough."
"With me being a patient, they stole medication I'm legally allowed to have under the law, and left me with nothing for my own personal needs," he said. "And in the paperwork, it clearly stipulates that the state objected to the warrant and all accompanying paperwork, but though the state objected, they still proceeded with the raid using taxpayer money."
Another issue, Assenberg said, is that he, his wife and his daughter all had their personal computers taken, in addition to the paperwork he had describing his patients and their medical histories.
And, Assenberg said, "I have discovered that on Jan. 22, 2002, the U.S. Department of Congress in Washington D.C. had rewritten the drug laws for the U.S. For a drug to be a Schedule 1 narcotic, it must not have any accepted medical use in treatment within the boundaries of the U.S. But nowhere does it stipulate that the FDA has to be the sole regulatory agency that recognizes its medical value ... I've got them with their own federal loophole."
"I'm all jazzed about it, it's going to be a circus, I can tell you that much," he said.
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(c) 2011, Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow, Idaho
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