By Nolan Clay
GUTHRIE — After finding 21 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop early June 4, suspicious Logan County sheriff deputies arrested the driver and passenger despite their repeated protests they were delivering for a dispensary.
Daniel Richard Arthur, 40, and Rebecca J. Davis, 40, were both charged the same day with felonies, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substances with intent to distribute and conspiracy.
On Thursday, though, prosecutors dropped all charges and authorized the release of the seized marijuana, plus $5,400 in cash, to their defense attorney, Tyler Box.
The dismissal of the criminal cases highlights the uncertainty surrounding the law as the medical marijuana industry continues to grow rapidly in Oklahoma.
“Part of me wants to tell my guys, ‘Hey, if they got dope, just let them go,'” Sheriff Damon Devereaux said Thursday. “It is frustrating but … we’re always willing to learn something new. … It’s not our intent to violate anybody’s rights.”
Box said the the defendants were transporting the marijuana in June on Interstate 35 from The House of Cannabis Dispensary in Enid to a dispensary in Edmond. He said the marijuana — valued at $55,000 — was being returned Thursday to the Enid business.
“We would certainly graciously accept an apology from the sheriff, but we have something better than that, and that’s the satisfaction of knowing we’re getting the medicine back in the hands of the people that need it,” Box said.
Box works at a new law firm, the Overman Legal Group, and a new consulting firm, Climb Collective, with J. Blake Johnson, one of the state’s leading experts on cannabis industry law. Johnson said legislators still have to make many significant changes to state statutes in upcoming sessions to clear up the uncertainty.
A new law that goes into effect in August will require a dispensary worker to have a medical marijuana transporter license to move product from one cannabis business to another. That new law also will require the transporter to use a vehicle with a GPS tracker and to keep the marijuana in a locked and clearly labeled container in a secured area not accessible during transit.
“It doesn’t do much by way of changing how verification would happen or anything like that,” Johnson said of the so-called Unity Bill. “I’m not sure that it is a panacea for the concern that we’re trying to address right now which is local law enforcement picking folks up and deciding this can’t be legal.”
Previously published on The Oklahoman.