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Forum News Service, Published March 28 2013

Attempt to disown marijuana fails to convince South Dakota Supreme Court

ALEXANDRIA, S.D. - An Alexandria man who claimed the marijuana growing in his yard was “nothing more than a patch of weeds and grasses” has lost an appeal to the South Dakota Supreme Court.

Kenneth Hauge, 61, appealed to the Supreme Court after a jury convicted him last May of possession of 1 to 10 pounds of marijuana.

The charge stems from an incident in June 2011, when Hanson County Sheriff Randy Bartlett - acting on a tip from a Drug Enforcement Administration agent - found marijuana plants growing in a flower bed in the yard of Hauge’s home, the Supreme Court’s decision says.

Hauge’s explanation of how the marijuana came to be in his yard changed several times during the investigation, according to the decision.

Hauge eventually gave the officers permission to search the area and remove the marijuana plants, the decision says. Bartlett testified that more than 200 plants were pulled before they “quit counting.”

Once convicted of the charge, Hauge was sentenced to 10 years in prison with six years suspended. A habitual offender charge was dropped.

The Supreme Court rejected Hauge’s arguments and affirmed his conviction.