Chez Claudine Closes
Side Dishes: Owners accused of pot possession
The “watched pot” proverb takes on new meaning in the case of Chez Claudine in Stowe. At the end of last month, Stowe Police Officer Christopher Rogers discovered 19 marijuana seedlings at the Mountain Road eatery. Co-owner and “registered caregiver” Claudine Myer was cultivating them for her husband, card-carrying medical marijuana user Glenn Myer. According to Glenn, the plants were in temporary storage at the restaurant because the couple was in the process of moving.
Why was Rogers at the restaurant in the first place? Glenn had called him in to help settle a dispute with another tenant. “My wife said I was in the bathroom,” Myer claims. But instead of waiting for Myer to come out, he continues, Rogers “went into a back door that was closed, went up three stairs, made a right, made a left . . . ” into an area Myer insists he had no right to enter sans search warrant.
Although the holiday prevented us from reaching Officer Rogers, he defended himself in the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus, saying: “It was an open area that anyone in the public could have gone into.”
Just before, the police had discovered 27 plants on a piece of land in Morrisville the couple owns as a rental property. Glenn Myer says he knew about only five of those plants, four of which, he claims, were dying.
In total, the pair is being prosecuted for possession of 55 plants and 4 pounds of marijuana, in violation of Vermont law that allows for 2 ounces of “processed pot,” seven immature plants and two mature ones.
But Myer contends seedlings don’t qualify as “plants,” and that a grower must start around 20 to obtain three females, the plants that produce THC-rich buds. “The male is nothing; you don’t even want them around,” he says. Since other, older plants were dead or dying of various diseases, he maintains, the couple really had only nine healthy plants.
As far as the “4 pounds” is concerned, Myer insists they were mostly leftover leaves — and “Everybody knows you don’t smoke the leaves,” he says.
The Myers closed Chez Claudine permanently last Monday. “They took away our liquor license because of it, but my wife had had enough anyway. Stowe business has been way down,” Glenn explains.
Myer plans to continue advocating for himself — in court. As he sees it, “[The officer] thought he had a huge drug bust, and he busted a 50-year-old disabled man who’s trying to live a normal life, with a legal right to smoke marijuana. I’m a . . . clinical pharmacist who had a devastating spiral fracture to my humerus. I had 89 pieces of bone embedded in my tissue. I can only pick up 5 pounds with my left arm.”
Myer says he was ready to give up all his pain medication — which includes OxyContin, Dilaudid, ibuprofen, Ultram and amitriptyline — for a pot-only regimen, until his legal medicine was “shredded” by the police.