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Updated: Marijuana activist charged with giving drug to child
    #807693 - 03/11/16 01:15 AM (2 years, 1 month ago)

A former physician who has called marijuana an “essential nutrient” for health has been indicted by a grand jury on several new charges that relate to giving the drug to his child, sometimes mixed with goat’s milk.

Monroe Gordon Piland III, 69, of English Drive in Candler, was served Wednesday with nine drug-related charges, bringing the number of charges pending against him in Buncombe County to 15.

Most of the new indictments allege that Piland has given marijuana in various forms to his child, while two other charges allege he intended to distribute more powerful narcotics.

The charges have been raised as part of a difficult child custody situation, according to Piland's attorney.

One indictment, charging Piland with delivering a controlled substance to a child aged 13 or younger, alleges that he administered marijuana’s active ingredient “by repeatedly blowing tetrahydrocannabinol in the face of [the child],” a violation that took place from March 2011 to September 2015.

Another indictment, for the same charge, alleges marijuana leaves had been mixed with goat’s milk for the juvenile to drink over a three-year period beginning in March 2011.

A misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile makes a similar allegation, saying the youth had been given marijuana and goat’s milk, while a misdemeanor child abuse indictment alleges the juvenile lived in a home where marijuana was grown and consumed, and was given marijuana to ingest.

In the newest indictments, Piland was also charged with two charges of possession with intent to sell and deliver drugs. One indictment listed the drug as opium poppy, a schedule II narcotic, indicating it has a high potential for abuse. The other listed dihydrocodeinone, a schedule III narcotic similar to hydrocodone, meaning it has a lesser potential for abuse.

Steve Lindsay, the Asheville attorney who represents Piland, said the child abuse allegations stem from a child custody case and dispute, and were not raised by the juvenile.

“I think when people see there is a domestic situation involved, they will take these allegations with a grain of salt,” said Lindsay, who added that he had no knowledge of his client giving marijuana to the child.

Piland, he said, is an advocate of natural, not manufactured medications, and did not believe his client kept synthetic narcotics for distribution.

“Gordon’s brother died a few years back from an overdose, and as for the jar of pills, I’m sure those were related to his brother’s death and serve as a constant reminder of the awful things that can happen as a result of man-made medication,” Lindsay said.

Piland obtained a North Carolina medical license in 1979, and in 1981 was convicted in Dare County of felony manufacturing a controlled substance and possession of marijuana, according to records filed with the Board of Medical Examiners. His license was formally revoked in 1984.

The Board, in its decision to pull his license, found Piland was growing marijuana for a cancer patient, who did not ask him to provide the plant and never expressed a desire to have him do so. Officials also determined he never attempted to transfer the patient to Duke University Medical School, which was then offering a legal and experimental program that offered marijuana to cancer patients in an effort to control nausea brought on by chemotherapy.

Piland has been a medical marijuana activist since that time, and has called laws against the plant blasphemous. North Carolina is not among the 23 states that have enacted medical marijuana laws, and the drug is often used to manage nausea or pain, among other symptoms and afflictions.

While medical marijuana use has gained legal traction, research indicates that marijuana use by young people can alter a developing brain, with several studies showing a negative impact to cognition.

Opium has been used as a pain reliever for thousands of years, and that narcotic is used as a derivative for prescription medication like hydrocodone and illegal drugs such as heroin. Most opiate-based drugs have the potential for becoming highly addictive, and distribution charges tend to be prosecuted more stringently than similar marijuana charges.

Piland is being held on a $90,000 secured bond for the new charges and was scheduled for a Thursday court appearance. He had previously been released after an October arrest on a $110,000 unsecured bond.

A search warrant related to the earlier arrest indicated officers seized 58 grams of poppies, morphine sulphate, mushrooms, marijuana candies, marijuana oils and various other pieces of drug paraphernalia.


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