DENVER (AP) — A man who made cannabis oil for a Colorado boy who was instrumental in passing a state law requiring schools to allow students to use medical marijuana is facing several felony drug charges.
Mark Pedersen had been providing the oil to Jack Splitt before the boy’s Aug. 25, 2016, death. Jack, who was 15 when he died, had severe cerebral palsy and dystonia, a disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions.
After he was denied the use of marijuana oil at his school in Jefferson County west of Denver, he became the impetus for a 2016 state law that allowed eligible students to use the drug on campus.
When he died, a Lakewood police officer who was assigned to the West Metro Drug Task Force began investigating Pedersen, 60, who is accused of manufacturing with the intent to distribute marijuana, Denver television station KMGH-TV reported Thursday.
Officers found several jars and bags of marijuana, suspected cannabis oil and other items related to the manufacturing of marijuana oil during a search of the boy’s family home shortly after his death, according to an arrest affidavit. Pedersen was renting a room in the basement at the time.
Officers also found notebooks that listed treatments for Pedersen’s “patients,” several of whom were minors, as well as Facebook posts written by Pedersen touting the benefits of medical marijuana.
“I need to be reminded my life is not my own. I have a purpose … I can make oil. I can provide hope,” one post read.
Pedersen’s attorney, Matthew Buck, told KMGH-TV the charges are unfounded and that the case would not have come about had it not been for Jack’s death. “We feel strongly he’s overcharged because they’re charging him with possessing a significant more amount of concentrate than he had,” Buck said.
Pedersen was not registered with the state as a medical marijuana caregiver, although he did have a medical marijuana card.
A phone call to Stacey Linn, Jack’s mother, was not immediately returned Thursday evening.