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County settles with medical pot patient for destroyed items

Kitsap County has reimbursed a medical marijuana patient for confiscated property that was destroyed before an innocent verdict was rendered.

The county was reluctant to publicize the agreement, however, because it set a possible precedent.

Olalla resident Bruce Olson was arrested in May 2007 on a criminal warrant that accused him of distributing marijuana from his underground grow operation.

He was found not guilty of criminal charges on March 24.

Olson was given a check for $2,000 to reimburse him for lights and other equipment that was destroyed before the trial. Kitsap County Sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson said the money was drawn from the risk management fund, which exists in order to satisfy legal claims against the county.

Wilson said the items themselves were not illegal, but were confiscated because they were being used in what was believed to be a criminal operation.

After a one-on-one meeting with Sheriff’s Lt. Earl Smith, Olson said he had been asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement as a condition of the settlement, which included not disclosing any details to the media.

He would only say he was happy with the settlement and that, “I have been compensated.”

Wilson, however, said he was not aware of any nondisclosure agreement and that Olson “can talk about this to anyone that he wants.”

The existence of an agreement that included the amount was distributed Friday by the Cannabis Defense Coalition, which acted as Olson’s advocate during the March trial.

Wilson said they were destroyed before the trial “per standard procedure due to storage restriction constraints in the sheriff’s property evidence holding areas.”

Along with the check, video equipment and other possessions that had not been destroyed was returned.

In turn, Olson signed an agreement that he would not file any action against the county in the matter.

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