Doug Keenan, owner of the Magic Bulb hydroponics shop and an outspoken marijuana advocate, is facing felony charges in a case his lawyer says is an example of illegal search and seizure.
Doug Keenan, owner of the Magic Bulb hydroponics shop, is a former electrical engineer whose numerous inventions include the universal remote control.
The case began with Keenan"s arrest by state troopers Sept. 2 of last year after a search of his house, according to Tim Miller, Keenan"s lawyer. "Basically, they got a tip of some kind, looked through his trash and they found some promotional stuff from growing companies, some printed stuff that was favorable to marijuana, and that raised their antennae," Miller said. "They ultimately decided they didn"t have anything with which to bring charges. They went back a while later and found "vegetable material" in his trash. I have not yet gotten test results, and neither has the prosecutor. This was four or five months ago. It"s at the state police lab, which is notoriously slow." Miller said his main defense will be that since the material in the garbage was not determined to be marijuana at the time, the warrant was not proper and anything gathered inside Keenan"s house is inadmissable. "[Police] represented to the circuit court judge that [the vegetable material] was marijuana, and she issued a warrant for his house," Miller said. "They went inside and found a grow room in the house. I guess the circuit court judges in Hamilton County are a lot more trusting of the police than I am Ö Right now the state has not even made a prima facie case that it was even marijuana in the trash. It certainly was in the house, but they don"t get in the house without establishing that they have probable cause to go inside. That hasn"t been tested either, but I think that"s probably a little bit clearer case than cutting some garbage." Miller said he was also concerned with how long it was taking for test results to come back from the state lab, while the charges put Keenan"s life on hold in the meantime. "In criminal matters it is a burden for people to have those kinds of charges hanging over their heads. People should be able to get the evidence within less than five months." A state police spokesperson confirmed that Keenan was charged with cultivating over 30 grams of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia and maintaining a common nuisance, and that 40 marijuana plants, grow lights, smoking devices and several other paraphernalia items were seized from his house. With regards to all other questions, such as why the warrant was obtained, the spokesperson said that it is not state police policy to comment on an active case.