Veteran continues challenge of NC marijuana laws - WNCN: News, Weather

Veteran continues challenge of NC marijuana laws

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Another state decides to allow the use of medical marijuana.  With the governor's signature Monday, New York became the 23rd state to permit the drug with a doctor's prescription.

Activists in North Carolina don't expect to be the 24th state, but a local Army veteran has been challenging the law and called the police on himself to take his marijuana stash. 

Tuesday the veteran was back at the Union County courthouse.  Robert Dorr does not apologize for using pot.  Back in January before his first court appearance he explained why he grew the plant.  

The disabled Union County veteran who called police on himself admitted he was growing marijuana for medical purposes to treat his post traumatic stress disorder or (PTSD).  Tuesday he had another administrative court hearing.

"There's some language in the statute that may exempt him from criminal liability if what he was doing was for his own personal use," explained Dorr's lawyer, Ben Scales.

Scales is a lawyer based in Asheville who is taking a small fee to represent Dorr.  He is asking the district attorney's office to hand over copies of Dorr's journals taken by police as part of this investigation.

"We want to be able to demonstrate that everything that he was doing was for his own personal medical use.  That there was absolutely no intention to deliver or sell or distribute to anyone else," said Scales.

Dorr is facing three felony drug charges and a possession of drug paraphernalia charge.  His lawyer said Dorr does not deny possessing the drug and says he wants to take this case to trial before a jury.

"To have them determine whether or not what he was doing was medically necessary for him," said Scales, "Whether he had an alternative or this is what he had to do in order to survive."

Scales said this common law defense has worked in North Carolina.  He does not know if Dorr's case will set any precedent. But beyond this case, Scales is an activist and says he helped write the medical marijuana bill, HB 1161.

"North Carolina I like to say will be the 52nd state to legalize marijuana," said Scales.

But Mr. Dorr is not waiting for lawmakers.  His next court date in Union County is August 4, 2014.

Governor McCrory recently approved the use of CBD oils in North Carolina to treat seizure disorders. CBD oils are extracted from marijuana without getting anyone high. 

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