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State v. Abdi

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

February 26, 2015

STATE OF ARIZONA, Appellee,
v.
MEREDITH J. ABDI, Appellant

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County. No. CR2012-150070-001. The Honorable Teresa A. Sanders, Judge.

Counsel for Appellee: Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix, Adele G. Ponce.

Counsel for Appellant: Maricopa County Public Defender's Office, Phoenix, Cory Engle.

Presiding Judge Andrew W. Gould delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Judge Maurice Portley and Judge Jon W. Thompson joined.

OPINION

Page 922

[236 Ariz. 610] GOULD, Judge:

[¶1] Meredith J. Abdi appeals her conviction and sentence for possession of marijuana, a class one misdemeanor. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND[1]

[¶2] Prior to Abdi's bench trial, the State filed a motion in limine to preclude evidence that she was registered with the Oregon Health Authority as a caregiver to administer medical marijuana. Abdi's registration card listed her father, a resident of Oregon, as her patient. The trial court granted the motion, reasoning that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act did not provide a defense for persons registered as caregivers in another state.

[¶3] The evidence at trial showed that at approximately 4 a.m., a police officer saw Abdi's vehicle parked in a vacant dirt lot. The officer approached the vehicle and asked Abdi to roll down the window; when she did so, the officer smelled the odor of burning marijuana. The officer asked Abdi where the marijuana was, and she responded by handing him a clear plastic bag later found to contain 5.07 grams of marijuana.

[¶4] The officer transported Abdi to the police station where she waived her Miranda rights and agreed to speak to him. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966). According to the officer, Abdi told him that she had been smoking marijuana that morning. She stated the marijuana had been given to her by her sister, and that she smoked it to calm down from her work as a registered nurse. Abdi also stated that she knew it was illegal to possess marijuana.

[¶5] When Abdi testified at trial, however, she provided a different version of the incident. Abdi testified that while she knew the marijuana was in the vehicle, she did not smoke it. Abdi claimed that the marijuana had been left behind by her father, " my patient." She testified that she had told the officer she was registered as a caregiver in Oregon and it was legal for her to possess marijuana.

[¶6] Based on Abdi's testimony, defense counsel urged the court to reconsider its prior ruling and take into account Abdi's possession of a caregiver card from Oregon, as well as the presumptions afforded a caregiver under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. The court denied the request, and found Abdi guilty of possession of marijuana. The court suspended Abdi's sentence ...


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