San Francisco, CA (January 3, 2007) ? ? The last thing this country needs is another medical marijuana prisoner. The federal government needs to fix the bankrupt and hypocritical policies that have led to this miscarriage of justice,? states Dale Gieringer of California NORML and one of the speakers at the upcoming rally for Stephanie Landa, a 60-year old, non-violent mother and caregiver to her elderly mother, who will begin a 41-month prison sentence on Thursday, January 4, 2007, at 12 p.m. for the cultivation of medical cannabis in the city of San Francisco. ?The Bush administration is wasting taxpayers’ money by imprisoning victimless offenders like Stephanie,? Gieringer adds.
Advocates, supporters and government officials are scheduled to gather and speak Thursday, January 4, 2007, at the San Francisco Federal Building at 450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, at 10:30 a.m. A press conference will begin at 11 a.m. and the media is strongly encouraged to hear statements from community leaders and ask questions.
“I am not a criminal. I’m a mom and a medical marijuana patient and I was trying to help others,” states Landa. She contends that before she started a medical marijuana patient garden in the sanctuary city, she spoke with government authorities, received their permission and a set of guidelines from local police. ?I feel entrapped. If I go to jail, we should all go to jail,? Landa states.
?Lt. Martin Halloran has an established pattern and practice of harassment of qualified patients in San Francisco which is in direct conflict with our city?s sanctuary status,? states Shona Gochenaur, Executive Director of the San Francisco-based patient advocacy organization Axis of Love.
SFPD officer Halloran conducted the raid on the patient garden in 2002, later cooperating with feds arguing his status with the DEA required he do so. ?This case illuminates the cross deputization of law enforcement,? Gochenaur continues, citing it as one of the largest concerns of the patient community.
Allison Margolin, counsel for Landa, states, ?the 9th Circuit’s decision ? highlights the hypocrisy of a system that seems only pretending to be concerned about justice.? Landa has been out on her own recognizance and on an appeal until U.S. District Judge William Alsup remanded Landa last month to complete a 41-month prison sentence. Margolin argues, ?given the context of the appeal? she might get no time, what’s the justice of putting her in custody to await that decision.?
Landa will surrender herself to federal authorities by or before 12 p.m. ?We plan to shower her with flowers, love and gratitude before she turns herself in – an appropriate send off for this peaceful, loving, San Francisco flower-child of the 60?s,? states Deg? Coutee of the Patient Advocacy Network, medical cannabis education and advocacy organization in Los Angeles. ?We will continue to work on ending this nightmare.?
?With San Francisco?s new lowest law enforcement policy on marijuana, we certainly should not be wasting money on victimless, non-violent crimes,? concludes Landa.
Stephanie Landa’s website is www.stephanielanda.com
Patient Advocacy Network
Cultivating Knowledge and Understanding
Contact: Deg? Coutee
More information can be found at www.stephanielanda.com. Attorney Allison Margolin can be reached at 323/653-1850 or you can contact the Patient Advocacy Network at the above.