Medford man's convictions reversed in marijuana case

Medical marijuana cardholder Joshua Brewer admits it was a "wild ride," but he feels vindicated after having his felony drug convictions overturned nearly three years after he was jailed for possession and manufacture of cannabis.

The Oregon Department of Justice granted Brewer's appeal on Jan. 18, saying that Jackson County Circuit Judge Ray White erred when he denied Brewer a motion to dismiss the case against him in 2010.

Brewer was on trial for possession and manufacture of marijuana after police raided his home in September 2009. Brewer and his cousin, both medical marijuana cardholders, were growing at their home on Spring Street in Medford.

Medford police entered the house and determined that the grow site was over the amount of marijuana allowed under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act.

The OMMA allowed Brewer and his cousin to possess 48 ounces of usable marijuana at one time. During the investigation, the officers seized 41.9 ounces, which put the pair 6.1 ounces under the limit.

In addition, the officers seized nearly 43 ounces of hanging marijuana that was in the process of drying. This drying marijuana was used in the prosecution's case against Brewer to prove he was over the legal limit.

The Department of Justice ruled that it was not proven whether this hanging marijuana was usable, as defined by the OMMA.

During the trial, Brewer's attorney attempted to have the case dismissed because there was no proof the hanging marijuana was usable or that it violated the OMMA.

White denied this motion for dismissal, prompting Brewer to appeal.

"Without the hanging marijuana, there is no evidence that the defendant possessed more than the lawful amount of 'usable marijuana'," reads a statement signed by Oregon Attorney General John Kroger and Solicitor General Anna Joyce. "The trial court thus erroneously denied the defendant's motion of acquittal."

Jackson County District Attorney Mark Huddleston said the case is effectively closed against Brewer.

"There's nothing more to do," Huddleston said. "We might have to file a motion of dismissal, but there will be no more court appearances in this case."

Brewer was given 60 days in jail upon conviction. He said his sentence was especially tough on his family.

"My family and kids went through hell," he said. "We are glad we had a lot of support, a lot of people behind us on this."

Brewer's trial drew the attention of medical cannabis advocates, who protested his conviction and helped raise funds for his appeal.

Following his jail sentence, Brewer was placed on three years' probation and prohibited against using medical marijuana by Jackson County Community Justice officials.

The agency does not recognize marijuana as a legal treatment, even though it was prescribed by doctors. If Brewer had violated the terms of his probation, he would have been shipped to prison for two years.

"I don't have that hanging over my head anymore," Brewer said.

Brewer said he plans on suing the city of Medford and Jackson County Community Justice on grounds that his civil rights were violated during his arrest and conviction.

Brewer said he will seek around $5 million from community justice and $10 million from the city.

"The money's not the most important thing, though," he added. "I want this to be a precedent-setting case. I don't want anyone else to go through what I went through."

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or email

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