Portland man sought to establish a medical marijuana grow nursery on Columbia Boulevard

by: FILE PHOTO.  - According to a Gallup poll released Tuesday, Oct. 22, 58 percent of Americans are in favor of the legalization of marijuana. This marks the first time a clear majority of Americans have said the drug should be legalized since Gallup first asked the question in 1969 and only 12 percent favored legalization. A Portland man was arraigned Monday, Oct. 21, in the Columbia County Courthouse for charges related to the operation of a medical marijuana nursery at 1271 Columbia Blvd. in St. Helens.

When inspected by St. Helens Police, officers found and confiscated marijuana plants considerably larger than what state law allows, said St. Helens Police Chief Terry Moss.

David Mighell was arraigned Monday on charges of manufacturing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, unlawful manufacture of marijuana and unlawful possession of 4 or more ounces of marijuana. Deputy District Attorney Dale Anderson said possession of more than 4 ounces of marijuana is considered a felony. Mighell pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Although Mighell held an Oregon Medical Marijuana Act grower's card, allowing him to produce marijuana by Oregon law, he is subject to felony charges because his plants were deemed out of compliance with state law, essentially removing his privileges granted as an OMMA grower, Anderson said.

“When you sign up under the [Oregon Medical Marijuana Act], there are rules regarding the number of plants you're entitled to grow,” Anderson said. “When you deal with a number of plants, there's also a distinction made between mature and immature plants, and there's a statutory definition of what is an immature plant. So if people have too many immature plants or plants that don't meet definition of immature, they have too many adult plants.”

Anderson said Mighell will likely be placed on probation given the nature of his crimes. “He would be on probation for 18 months for the possession charges,” he said. “The manufacture charges carry a presumptive probation of two years each.”

Anderson added that Mighell could be ordered to serve 10 days in jail on the possession charges and 20 days in jail for both manufacturing charges. "When he was arraigned, a condition of his release was that he not grow marijuana and he returned his grow cards," Anderson said.

In August, the St. Helens Planning Commission approved Mighell's application for a conditional use permit to operate a marijuana nursery on Columbia Boulevard. In September, Columbia River Fire & Rescue and the St. Helens Police Department filed an appeal to oppose the permit Mighell had been granted based on the location's close proximity to Lewis and Clark Elementary School and fire and police stations.

Mighell withdrew his application Oct. 9, after St. Helens police inspected his facility on Sept. 18 and found and seized what St. Helens Police Chief Terry Moss recalled as “more than 20 mature” marijuana plants. By law, an OMMA certified grower is allowed six mature plants and 12 immature plants no more than 12 inches tall by 12 inches wide.

Mighell's attorney, Amy Margolas, declined to comment on the case, saying, “I don't give comments right at the beginning of a case. I like to get a chance to look at police records and go over the case.”

Mighell is scheduled for a pre-trial conference Dec. 11.

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