U.S. District Judge Philip A. Brimmer rejected an attempt Wednesday by a suburban Denver pot grower facing federal drug charges to have the case dismissed because he says he was growing new types with medical value. Christopher Bartkowicz argued that he was growing strains that are wrongly considered off-limits Schedule 1 drugs.
Brimmer agreed with federal prosecutors that a judge can't decide to exempt some kinds of marijuana from the federal designation.
Brimmer was to consider further arguments Wednesday from government lawyers who want block Bartkowicz from using state pot laws in his defense.
About two dozen medical marijuana advocates showed up to rally for Bartkowicz.
Prosecutors have asked a federal judge to ban Bartkowicz from using state marijuana law in his defense. Bartkowicz faces federal drug charges next month after his basement pot-growing business was raided by federal agents, after he talked to 9Wants to Know about it.
"We have a group of citizens who have gathered here today, really to get the word out that they are attempting to prohibit him from talking about medical marijuana at this trial and today is a crucial motions hearing," Brian Vicente, executive director of Sensible Colorado, a pro-marijuana group that organized the rally.
Bartkowicz is expected to argue that state marijuana law shields him from federal conviction. Prosecutors disagree and are asking the judge to ban Bartkowicz from bringing up state law in his trial.
"We believe strongly that the truth needs to come out at this trial," Vicente said.
About two dozen medical marijuana advocates holding signs rallied Wednesday outside the courthouse in support of Bartkowicz.
"He needs to let the jury and judge know about Colorado medical marijuana law and let them make an informed decision before trying to lock him up for 60 years to life," Vicente said.
(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)