Two armed men steal medical marijuana from Anchorage home

Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Two armed men forced their way into an apartment early Wednesday, bound the hands of two men with duct tape and stole medical marijuana allowed under Alaska law.

Anchorage police said it was the first time they can recall robbers stealing medical marijuana.

One of the victims told police that he stepped outside his apartment building shortly after midnight to smoke a cigarette. When he re-entered the building, one of the robbers pointed an Uzi-type weapon at his head and ordered him against the wall.

The man's roommate heard the commotion in the foyer and opened the door to see what was going on. A second robber in the foyer pointed a small silver revolver at the roommate.

The roommates were forced into the living room, where their hands were bound. While one of the robbers held the men at gunpoint, the other went into a bedroom and stripped five marijuana plants.

The victims said the two men communicated with each other by radios and disguised their faces. One used a World War II-era gas mask and the other had on a ski mask. The roommates said they did not know the men.

Neither of the victims was hurt. No arrests were made.

Police spokesman Ron McGee said he doubts the robbers even knew or cared that the marijuana was being legally grown to treat a medical problem.

''I think people have to understand when you have drugs in your home you are a target,'' McGee said.

Police refused to identify the victims or reveal why medical marijuana was being used.

Alaska, along with California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington have passed medical marijuana laws.

Alaska voters in 1998 approved an initiative allowing people with serious medical conditions to use marijuana with approval from a doctor. The law requires that users register with the state to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants.

There currently are 170 Alaskans on the state registry, said Terry Ahrens with the Department of Health and Social Services.

Marijuana is used to ease the symptoms of a variety of illnesses, including cancer, glaucoma and AIDS. It also is used to ease severe pain, nausea, seizures and muscle spasms.

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