Judge denies bail reduction for three medical marijuana suspects

Three people arrested in a series of medical marijuana dispensary raids last week will remain lodged in the Jackson County Jail on steep bail after their requests for release were denied Tuesday.

Supporters of Lori Duckworth, 50, Leland Duckworth, 49, and David James Bond, 44, gasped when Jackson County Circuit Judge Tim Barnack refused to lower the $550,000 bail holding the Duckworths in jail. Bond's bail remained at $200,000.

Barnack leveled a stern admonishment at the court gallery during the bail hearing.

"I don't want to hear anything from the gallery, not a huff or a puff or anything that distracts from this court," Barnack said.

The Duckworths are charged with 22 counts each of conspiracy to deliver marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school. Lori Duckworth, a vocal proponent of medical marijuana, is the executive director of the Southern Oregon chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

The SONORML office on West Sixth Street in Medford was one of four medical cannabis dispensaries raided by police on May 23.

Officers with numerous agencies descended on Puffin' Stuff on Crater Lake Avenue in Medford, the Green Compass on East McAndrews Road in Medford and The Compass on Second Avenue in Gold Hill.

Law enforcement alleges the dispensaries were storefronts for illegal marijuana sales.

The accused each pleaded not guilty to the charges on Tuesday and they were scheduled for a pre-trial appearance on June 17. They have the opportunity to push for a new bail hearing in the future, Barnack said.

Lawyers for the Duckworths argued that the couple were not getting treatment in the jail for various medical ailments. Leland Berger, who represented Leland Duckworth, made the case for the Duckworths, saying that they have deep roots in the community and should not be viewed as a flight risk.

Berger also remarked on the $550,000 bail placed on the couple.

"I think this is unduly harsh to deny this couple the ability to be released," Berger said.

Officers seized nearly 12 pounds of marijuana, 94 plants, $2,752 in cash, documents, computers and edible marijuana products from SONORML, officials said. Police said they believe the money is from illegal drug sales.

At Puffin' Stuff, officers collected about a pound of marijuana, 41 grams of hashish, edible marijuana products, tinctures, seeds and other assorted items. Fifty dollars in cash also was seized. Similar items were seized from the other dispensaries and the residences. In all, around $4,000 in cash was seized in the raids.

Mark Williams, 28, the Duckworths' adopted son, believes his parents are being held to prove a political point against medical cannabis.

"(The police) are trying to make a statement," Williams said. "They don't want anyone else doing what my parents do, which is provide medicine for people."

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.

Share This Story