SAFFORD — A medical marijuana patient's plants were confiscated Monday after it was deemed she was not in compliance with the growing portion of the law.

Safford officers were dispatched to the Safford Villa apartment complex at 106 W. 11th St. at about 6:22 p.m. regarding a tenant cultivating marijuana on her front porch.

Upon arrival, officers were directed to an apartment and interviewed the resident, Nancy Cook, who admitted to having marijuana plants in multiple pots just inside her apartment. Cook produced a medical marijuana identification card and said she had just moved the plants outside a couple of weeks ago. The officers located 13 small, immature plants.

Arizona passed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act on Nov. 2, 2010. According to the law, patients can possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable (dried) cannabis every two weeks, and those who live more than 25 miles from a dispensary are allowed to cultivate up to 12 plants at a time. The closest operating dispensary to Safford is Cathy's Compassion Center in Cochise County, which is about 70 miles away.

Patients who cultivate cannabis must follow a set of rules, however. Patients and caregivers are allowed to grow marijuana only in a secure, enclosed facility. For indoor growers that can be accommodated by simply turning a closet into a grow room as long as the door handle can be locked. Outdoor grow operations, however, must be enclosed by a 10-foot-high concrete, stone or metal wall and include a 1-inch-thick metal gate, according to Arizona Medical Marijuana Act rules. Cook didn't have her plants growing under either indoor or outdoor regulations, and her plants were thereby confiscated for not following the set procedure for cultivation.

The officers also confiscated a pill bottle that contained about seven grams of the patient's doctor-recommended medication (marijuana), two water pipes and two other pipes used to ingest the cannabis, even though the law allows a card-carrying patient to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. Safford Police Chief John Griffin said that, according to the law, once a medical marijuana patient breaks one section of the regulations, all of the related items must be confiscated.

The officer collected all of the above-mentioned items as evidence and sent his report to the Graham County Attorney's Office for review.

Follow reporter Jon Johnson on Twitter @EACourierJon.

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