Charges condensed, bail reduced for pot activist

Charges condensed, bail reduced for pot activist

HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - A well known medical marijuana activist on the Big Island was in court Monday, his first appearance since his arrest during a police raid last week.

58-year old Mike Ruggles had the 31 charges against him condensed to 7, including possession and promotion and a firearms charge.

Big Island police seized more than a hundred plants, almost 50 pounds of dried, processed marijuana along with a concentrate.  They also took edibles, capsules and about 2-thousand dollars in cash.

Ruggles operates the Alternative Pain Management Puuhonua Collective in Mountain View.  Members say it allows them to get their prescriptions since many of them can't or don't know how to grow their own.

"There's no way for patients to get their cannabis right now," says supporter Robert Petricci, "What's going to happen to all the people who are dying and who are sick right now?  is the state going to step in and give them the medical marijuana they need?"

Police called the operation an illegal dispensary.  An undercover officer reported buying various forms of marijuana and a vaping device from the collective earlier this month.

Police also took a loaded pistol, shotgun and a 15-round magazine for the pistol.  Friends say Ruggles had those for protection because he had been robbed recently.

Bail was reduced from more than $80,000 to about $35,000.  Ruggles remains in jail.

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