Local man faces drug summons

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— A Hayden man who argued a California prescription for marijuana gave him the right to possess the drug in Colorado was given a court summons Monday.

Christopher Lee Woody, 37, was stopped by Routt County Sheriff's Deputy Rob Smith at 2:19 p.m. on U.S. Highway 40 near the Heritage Park Pre-School for driving with expired license plates.

Routt County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Birch, who assisted Smith with the traffic stop, said Smith reported smelling marijuana while he was talking to the man about his nine-month expired California plates.

Birch said Woody agreed to let the officers search his Ford Taurus. Smith reported finding more than 2 ounces of marijuana during the search.

Smith confiscated the marijuana even though Woody produced a California-issued prescription for it, Birch said.

Birch said Woody was adamant that he smokes marijuana for its medicinal purposes but would not tell the officers what kind of medical condition he uses the marijuana for.

Birch also said the prescription did not say what the marijuana was for.

Birch said he called the District Attorney's Off----ice ab----out the prescription and was told it was invalid in Colorado.

Instead of arresting Woody on suspicion of possessing marijuana, Birch said Smith opted to write the man a court summons.

"It was our option," Birch said.

"We can choose to either arrest someone and book them into jail or we can issue a summons."

Birch said it is not uncommon for officers to issue a written summons for misdemeanor crimes.

Because Woody is accused of possessing more than 2 ounces but less than 8 of ounces marijuana, he was charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Birch also said he and Smith took into the man's physical and mental state into consideration in deciding to issue him a summons and not arrest him.

Birch said he and Smith confident that Woody was not driving under the influence of drugs. Birch said he thought Woody's car smelled of marijuana because he smokes on a regular basis in his car and also lives in his car.

Birch said Woody told the officers he had moved to Hayden from California two weeks before and was temporarily living in his car.

Birch said Woody cooperated during the search and confiscation of the marijuana but was adamant that smoking the marijuana was his right because of his prescription.

--To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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