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Man Convicted Of Pot Charge

A Pend Oreille County jury took only about a half-hour Wednesday to decide that Philip McKinley didn’t need 98 marijuana plants for medicinal purposes.

McKinley, 41, said he grew marijuana at his Cusick-area home because smoking pot is the only thing that relieves the pain he suffers from post-polio syndrome.

Expert witnesses presented conflicting testimony about that claim.

But Deputy Prosecutor Tony Koures noted that sheriff’s officers found 98 plants in McKinley’s home in April 1994 and 64 more in October 1994.

That seemed like an excessive number for personal use, Koures said, and wondered why McKinley would need the commercial scale officers found.

The second discovery of a pot-growing operation in McKinley’s house occurred while officers were looking for a gun that allegedly was pointed at a National Guard helicopter. The aircraft was carrying sheriff’s officers who were looking for marijuana.

McKinley was convicted of one count of possessing marijuana with intent to deliver it to others and one count of manufacturing the drug. He is to be sentenced March 30.

Superior Court Judge Larry Kristianson gave McKinley a stern warning after the jurors announced their verdict and McKinley told them, “May the Lord be sympathetic to your souls.”

Kristianson said he wouldn’t punish McKinley for the remark.