A couple arrested for growing medical marijuana in the yard of their rental home next to Jewell School have pleaded guilty to drug-possession charges.

As part of a plea agreement signed last week, Larry and Mary Porter pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance, a Class B felony, and were put on 18 months' probation.

The two were arrested last April by members of the county's narcotics task force and charged with delivery and manufacture of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school, a Class A felony. The arrest came several months after complaints by parents and students at Jewell School that marijuana plants could be clearly seen in the couple's back yard through a fence.

The Porters, who currently live in Harney County in southeast Oregon, claimed they were allowed to grow the plants for Larry Potter's medical marijuana card, which allowed him to use the drug for a variety of ailments including diabetes and hepatitis.

But in October police confiscated several of the plants after telling the couple they were growing more plants than allowed, and that the plants were too visible from the school. Oregon's medical marijuana program allows qualified users to possess three mature and four immature plants, while the Porters were found at one time to have 17 plants.

At one point a vandal came onto the couple's property and destroyed their plants.


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