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7:30am — Durango College Student Cited for Toking in Public

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — 22-year-old gets state medical-marijuana certificate just a day after her trial.

Jessica Voden, a 22-year-old Fort Lewis College student, was found guilty last Thursday of smoking marijuana in public, a day before she received her official medical-marijuana certificate from the state of Colorado, The Durango Herald reported.

Voden had only a note from a physician saying she was approved to use medical marijuana when she was issued a ticket by Fort Lewis College campus police for smoking marijuana in public, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, The Herald said.

She had been sitting in her parked car at Fort Lewis College on the morning of Feb. 18 when a parking lot attendant noticed her smoking pot and notified campus police, the paper reported.

Following a half-day jury trial in La Plata County (Colo.) Court on Thursday, in which Voden defended herself, she was found guilty and ordered to pay $500 in fines and court costs, complete 32 hours of community service and to serve 15 days on home-detention monitoring, The Herald said.

In an interview Monday, Voden told The Herald she lived in Pagosa Springs at the time of the incident and commuted five days a week to attend school.

It’s illegal to smoke marijuana while driving, and Fort Lewis College doesn’t provide a place to self-medicate, Voden told the paper.

She told The Herald that it’s ironic that the college plans to open a bar and grill on campus but shuns the use of medical marijuana.

“So I can go get drunk on campus, but I can’t medicate. I find something wrong with that,” Voden told the paper. “I really think that it’s not right that Fort Lewis doesn’t provide a place to do that.”

Voden said she applied for a medical marijuana certificate nine months ago to treat her irritable-bowel syndrome — a condition she said she has struggled with since she was 16 years old, The Herald said.

College spokesman Mitch Davis told the paper that the college doesn’t take a position on the medical marijuana debate.

“We’re simply following the law,” Davis said. “It’s not legal to smoke medical marijuana or any kind of marijuana in public, and that’s the law, so that’s what the college will uphold.”

Voden said she is considering an appeal because jurors were unable to see her official certificate, the paper reported.

Colorado voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 2000, but it wasn’t until October 2009 when the Obama administration said federal prosecutions of medical marijuana would be discouraged, and medical marijuana distribution centers proliferated across Colorado, The Herald said.

State law allows medical marijuana cardholders to possess up to 2 ounces of pot or to grow up to six plants at a time, but it prohibits consumption of marijuana in public, according to the paper.