Medical marijuana activist in custody for marijuana possession, harassing witness

Published 6:22 am Thursday, June 30, 2016

Deanna Jean Ryther, 41

Deanna Jean Ryther, 41

An outspoken medical marijuana advocate who previously organized Austin’s Hemp Fest has been arrested and charged after a large amount of marijuana was found at her residence in rural Austin.

Deanna Jean Ryther, 41, of Austin is charged with felony fifth-degree drug possession and being a fugitive from justice from another state. She is being held on possible charges of felony first-degree tampering with a witness.

According to Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi, Ryther was issued a court order from Boulder, Colorado, on May 20 to turn over any evidence she claimed she had on Facebook pertaining to a sexual assault conviction on her father from 2006.

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She was also ordered to cease and desist harassing the victim of that assault. It was not stopped and an arrest warrant was issued.

On June 23, deputies of the Mower County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant and felony arrest warrant from Colorado for Ryther, according to court records.

In addition to evidence pertaining to Ryther’s crimes in Colorado, deputies also found and seized 80 grams of marijuana, an unknown brown substance, marijuana oil/wax, several packages that were mailed from Colorado containing vacuum sealed bags that appeared to have been used to send marijuana and related products to Ryther.

They also found four computers during the search and then amended the warrant to seize the marijuana.

Ryther organized Austin’s first Hemp Fest in 2013 and has advocated for Austin to host a medical marijuana dispensary under the state’s medical marijuana law. She has a medical marijuana license from Colorado, but not from Minnesota.

Her next court appearance is scheduled for July 7.