The U.S. attorney in Colorado has agreed to return marijuana-growing equipment to an Aurora man who uses the drug to relieve his chronic pain, the Rocky Mountain News reported Aug. 27.
However, although the federal government agreed not to prosecute Dana May, federal authorities will keep the marijuana seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Aurora police in May.
Medical-marijuana supporters said the case was a breakthrough because it marks the first time the U.S. attorney has agreed to return growing equipment to a person who has been cleared of wrongdoing.
“This case is precedent-setting and a very sympathetic case and just a terrible example of the federal government not recognizing that this is where the state of the law is going and where patients are going,” said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
May, 45, was expecting a long fight with the DEA. “I just about fell off my chair when my lawyer told me,” he said. “I thought he was joking. He said, ‘We got a victory here,’ and ‘They’re going to give you your stuff back.'”
May added, “I think this is a big step because with the DEA giving my equipment back they know what I’m going to do with it, and it’s like they’re condoning it. There aren’t any options about what I’m going to do with it. I’m not going to grow tomatoes.”
Jeffrey Dorschner, spokesman for Colorado U.S. Attorney John Suthers, said the federal government decided not to prosecute because the equipment had minimal value.
As a result of the agreement, May plans to drop his civil lawsuit against the Aurora Police Department.