Wilson Protest

Protesters gather for a group photo after an arraignment hearing for Jamie Wilson on Wednesday outside the Daviess County Courthouse. His attorney argued that Wilson is legally allowed to possess medical marijuana even though no licensed dispensaries are open in Missouri.

In the new frontier that is medical marijuana, a court case in Northwest Missouri appeared to shape the contours of the burgeoning industry.

From the moment Jamie Wilson was arrested, in what his lawyers call a “pre-textual stop,” law enforcement was forced to adapt to a world in which medical marijuana possession is apparently legal, despite the fact that no legal dispensaries are in operation.

In January, the top medical marijuana regulator for Missouri, Lyndall Fraker, penned an open letter to law enforcement. In that letter, he reiterated that medical marijuana is legal for cardholders, regardless of where they obtained marijuana.

Lawyers for Wilson pushed for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to issue such a letter after Wilson was arrested.

“I definitely think that the letter issued by the department was at least partially in response to Jamie Wilson’s case,” Joani Harshman, one of Wilson’s lawyers, said. “He (Fraker) acknowledged that he said that he hoped it would help with my case.”

Wilson initially faced charges for felony possession and felony child endangerment. Those charges were dismissed by Daviess County Prosecuting Attorney Annie Gibson.

Gibson eventually dismissed the felony charges. She later dismissed the paraphernalia charge.

Harshman said Wilson will plead guilty to a traffic violation to get the experience over with, though Harshman does not believe the stop was above board.

“Trooper (Matthew) Neely did admit on the stand during that (a preliminary) hearing that part of the reason he pulled him Jamie over was because the Drug Task Force asked him to pull them over,” Harshman said. “It further evidences it (was) pretextual stop.”

Since Fraker’s letter, the Missouri State Highway Patrol told News-Press NOW its troopers won’t arrest citizens who comply with DHSS rules.

In a recent interview with News-Press NOW, Buchanan County Sheriff Bill Puett said his agency would follow the Highway Patrol’s lead.

As for Wilson, the man at the center of the controversy, he’s back to medicating with cannabis, according to Harshman.

Matt Hoffmann can be reached at matt.hoffmann@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NpNowHoffmann.

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