WA Legal Roundup: Division II
Otis appeals his conviction of manufacturing marijuana. He argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to assert a medical marijuana caregiver affirmative defense. Otis argues that he was growing the marijuana for a qualified patient under the Medical Use Marijuana Act.
The trial court failed to issue findings of fact and conclusions required of bench trials under CrR 6.1. The appellate court reversed Otis’s judgment and sentence based on the same. The appellate court will not review issues raised on appeal absent findings of fact, however, here, the court found that the record was adequate to address his challenge relating to trial courts order precluding him to present an affirmative defense based on medical marijuana.
At trial Otis offered the court evidence of his affirmative defense by way of a letter written to the court from the doctor that issued the patient Otis was a caregiver to the medical marijuana prescription. He also gave medical records and history or the past medications tried but failed and evidence that the marijuana was effective in treating the symptoms. The trial court granted the State’s motion to preclude Otis from presenting evidence relating to medical marijuana.
The court found that the letter from the doctor was sufficient in meeting the statute’s “valid documentation” requirement. Further, the court found that Otis presented enough evidence relating to his medical marijuana defense that would allow a jury to consider the defense and thus the trial court should not have precluded the evidence. The appellate court reversed his conviction and remanded for another trial.