California’s godfather of medical marijuana ? a 57-year-old Italian-American Vietnam veteran named Dennis Peron ? has won dismissal of Utah charges that could have sent him to prison for 10 years.
Peron, along with companions John Entwistle and Kasey Conder, were arrested and charged with possessing cannabis with intent to distribute in November 2001, after a maid narked on them. Police came to their Cedar City, Utah hotel room and forced their way in without a search warrant; they found several ounces of medical marijuana and $4500 in cash.
In May 2003, District Court Judge Philip Eves ruled that the search violated the Fourth Amendment of the US constitution, and dismissed the case. “Even in Utah, the US constitution’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure still applies,” a relieved Peron told Cannabis Culture.
County prosecutor Garrett is still trying to keep the $4500 seized from Peron.
Peron was the primary author, media spokesperson and public face of California’s landmark medical marijuana initiative, Proposition 215, which was approved by voters in 1996. He has been a marijuana activist and dealer since 1972, and has been shot, arrested, and otherwise harassed by police and government officials.
“We’ll sue them for several million dollars, and continue to use this arrest as a reason to do street activism in Utah, where we’ve started a medical marijuana legalization movement,” says Peron, who wrote his own legal filings in the case after concluding that a court-appointed attorney was not working hard enough.
“I think what we’ve learned from this is: never plead guilty, fight them hard, and be prepared to go to prison for what you believe in. Justice doesn’t always prevail in the USA, but in our case, it did.”
? Dennis Peron: www.marijuana.org