Days after a judge tossed the original indictment, a Clark County grand jury returned a new indictment this week against two men accused of selling medical marijuana to an undercover Las Vegas police officer.
The indictment, filed Wednesday in District Court, charges Nathan Hamilton and Leonard Schwingdorf with multiple counts of selling and trafficking marijuana.
Hamilton faces 12 felony counts, and Schwingdorf faces four felony counts. In May, according to the indictment, they sold the drug to an officer toting a medicinal marijuana registration card at Sin City Co-Op, 8221 W. Charleston Blvd.
District Judge Donald Mosley threw out the original indictment Monday because the grand jury had not seen certain evidence, including paperwork filled out by the officer showing that the marijuana was not for sale and that a donation to the co-op was not necessary to obtain it.
Bail was set at $300,000 for Hamilton and $100,000 for Schwingdorf following the second indictment. Neither is in the county jail, records showed.
Authorities have cracked down on and eliminated nearly all the local entities distributing marijuana to state-registered patients because, they held, the cooperatives are receiving compensation in forms of donations, violating Nevada law.
Schwingdorf and Hamilton and more than a dozen other defendants charged with distributing medical marijuana have argued the Nevada law is paradoxical because it allows patients registered with the state to possess the drug but makes it illegal to obtain it.
Mosley said the law regulating medical marijuana is “mind-boggling” and confusing at best. “I’m looking at it thinking I can’t make any sense out of this law,” the judge said Monday.
One Nevada law allows medical marijuana cardholders to possess, deliver or produce certain amounts of marijuana for pain relief. However, other state and federal laws make it illegal to buy or sell marijuana.
The new indictment, which added onto the original indictment one more count against Hamilton and three more against Schwingdorf, was assigned to Mosley’s court, records showed.
“Obviously the state is hellbent on seeking an indictment behind closed doors and in secret,” said attorney Robert Draskovich, who represents both defendants. “It’s obvious the state has an agenda.”
The defense attorney said he wants to see the grand jury transcripts to determine whether prosecutors followed Mosley’s ruling and presented all of the evidence to the grand jury.
Draskovich and medical marijuana advocates have called for a review of the Nevada law by the state Supreme Court to force the Legislature to address the paradox.
In a hearing set for today in a separate medical marijuana case, District Judge Doug Smith will hear arguments from prosecutors and Draskovich about the vagueness of Nevada’s medical marijuana statute.
Smith, like Mosley, also has said the law is difficult to understand.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@review journal.com or 702-380-1039.