Woman caught with large amount of marijuana receives probation

Posted 2/29/24

When Tina M. Love traveled to Powell last summer to visit her family, the disabled Oregon resident brought along a couple pounds of marijuana and THC-infused edibles she’d bought at …

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Woman caught with large amount of marijuana receives probation


When Tina M. Love traveled to Powell last summer to visit her family, the disabled Oregon resident brought along a couple pounds of marijuana and THC-infused edibles she’d bought at dispensaries back home.

“I wasn’t trying to get in any trouble,” Love said at a recent court hearing. “And I didn’t know that marijuana was a bad drug in Wyoming.”

She’s since learned Wyoming treats the substance much differently from Oregon: At a Feb. 12 hearing in Park County District Court, Love pleaded guilty to a felony count of possessing more than 3 ounces of THC and was placed on a year of unsupervised probation. The 60-year-old said it was “the first and last time I have ever been or will be in trouble.”

The sentence followed a plea deal offered by the Park County Attorney’s Office — though District Court Judge Bill Simpson expressed some hesitation about accepting it.

“Frankly, it looks like you had enough marijuana there contained in various packages [and] weights that you were intending to sell it,” Simpson told Love. “It’s hard to believe you would use all of that for personal use, regardless of whatever physical maladies you suffer from.”

The judge described the plea deal as “incredibly generous,” saying he’s seen people receive lengthy prison terms for far less marijuana.

Love traveled from her home in Bandon, Oregon, last summer to stay with her daughter, Theresa L. Hicks, and her daughter’s spouse, Kathleen M. Hicks, on North Day Street. Charging documents say the trouble started on July 21, when someone living in a downstairs apartment reported Love’s marijuana to law enforcement.

Responding Powell police officers found nearly 4 ounces of marijuana in a kitchen cabinet; in the master bedroom where Love was staying, they found two containers of what appeared to be THC-infused blueberry muffin gummies; and in Love’s vehicle, they found multiple bags of marijuana, plus various paraphernalia, a syringe loaded with a marijuana liquid and a variety of edibles like Mellow Vibes cookies and Stone’d THC Fruit Syrup.

In total, the items and their packaging added up to 20.75 ounces of processed marijuana and more than 9 ounces of edible and other marijuana items, according to an affidavit from Sgt. Dustin DelBiaggio. That amounts to about 1.85 pounds.

Love, who is disabled as a result of a decade-old head injury, told authorities the items were hers and that she’d bought them in Oregon.

“Tina [Love] said she did not know how long she was going to stay in Wyoming, so she brought a large quantity with her so she could not run out, knowing that she could not buy it here because it is illegal,” DelBiaggio wrote.

As for the Hickses, they reportedly told DelBiaggio they knew Love used marijuana, but didn’t know she’d brought some into the home.

“Kathleen [Hicks] was especially disturbed that the marijuana was in the house due to several of her cats having asthma,” DelBiaggio wrote.

After his initial interviews, the sergeant arrested Love on suspicion of possessing more than 3 ounces of THC in plant form. However, Deputy Park County Prosecuting Attorney Jack Hatfield decided to charge Love and both Hickses with three felonies each: possessing more than 3 ounces of THC, conspiring to possess THC and possessing THC with intent to deliver it.

The Hickses were arrested when they showed up for Love’s initial court appearance, then released on their own recognizance the following day.

Park County Circuit Court Judge Joey Darrah threw out the charges against Kathleen Hicks in September, calling the case “a huge stretch.”

While there was some evidence that Kathleen Hicks may have known about the marijuana — police were told all three women traveled together in Love’s vehicle immediately before she was arrested — Darrah said there was no evidence she possessed the substances.

“I find this woefully lacking,” the judge said. “It doesn’t even come close to meeting the probable cause standard on so many different levels.”

Darrah did allow the charges against Theresa Hicks to proceed to district court, swayed in part by an allegation that she’d driven with her mother from Oregon to Powell. However, the judge described it as “a very thin case” and said DelBiaggio “made the correct call” in only arresting Love. 

Theresa Hicks has pleaded not guilty, with a trial set for April 15. 

Both Hickses are currently on probation for stealing about $2,600 worth of items from Walmart in 2020, and prosecutors are seeking to revoke it over last summer’s incident with the marijuana. They’ve denied violating their probationary terms.

In exchange for Love pleading guilty to any one of the three felony charges, Hatfield offered the unsupervised probation and dropped the other two counts. Three to five years of prison time were suspended, with credit for the four days she served in jail following her summer arrest.

Hatfield said he won’t revoke Love’s probation if she continues to legally use marijuana in Oregon, but Simpson made a point of saying he wasn’t condoning the use of the drug. The judge said Wyoming’s prohibition “is not a bad thing.”

“I realize there’s many people who purport to say that marijuana is a cure-all, but those are generally the people selling it, dispensing it and making a fortune off it,” Simpson said, noting drugs and alcohol can cause problems.

“... We have approximately 90 million alcoholics in this country, and now we have approximately 19 million people addicted to marijuana,” Simpson mused. “So I’m not sure what the future holds for us.”

The judge said he hoped Love learned something from the experience — and that she’ll be sure to check each state’s laws before traveling again.

“I won’t make the same mistake again,” Love said. “That’s how you learn.”

Love was allowed to return to Oregon while the case was pending, and in court, she promised that “I will not come back to Wyoming.”