Judge tosses most of case against Medford marijuana activists

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Mejia today dismissed most of a racketeering and money laundering case against a Medford couple related to a highly publicized raid on their medical marijuana dispensary in May 2013.

Mejia found Laura "Lori" Duckworth and her husband, Leland Duckworth, each guilty of a single count of felony delivery of marijuana, dismissing 24 other charges as part of a plea bargain.

The Duckworths each were sentenced to 11 months probation, after which their felony charge could be reduced to a misdemeanor.

Mejia also included in the sentence the seven days of jail time that the couple have already served after they were arrested.

The state of Oregon will be allowed to keep $4,973.71 seized in the raid.

Guns that were seized will be returned to Leland Duckworth's son for safe keeping until his dad completes the probation, Mejia ordered.

Mejia allowed the Duckworths to use medical marijuana as part of Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, but he said they couldn't grow or assist others in the cultivation of pot.

Lori Duckworth said Jackson County and Medford police invested a lot of time and effort into a case despite the evolution of laws that are more favorable toward marijuana in recent years.

"The reefer madness generation is dying," she said outside the courtroom. "It's a drug war. It's a failed war, and my husband and I were casualties of it."

Duckworth, a vocal proponent of medical marijuana, was the executive director of the Southern Oregon chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Mejia said the laws against marijuana are changing, but he still said the Duckworths violated the law.

"We have to acknowledge these acts were criminal at the time they were committed," he said. "We will see what the voters or the Legislature does."

— Damian Mann

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