215 problems

I live in Los Angeles. About 3 months ago I was apprehended with a 6 inch tall marijuana plant.
I was walking 2 blocks from my house to a friends with a small sickly plant in a 10 inch plastic container.. I was walking because I did not have a car at the time. A sergeant for the Sheriff’s department was walking on foot to “Catch the scum of society where it lives”. He saw me walking with the big pot holding the little plant and decided to investigate. He approached me and within 5 minutes, without being read any Miranda Rights, I was on my way to jail. I was released on my own recognizance the next day.

The same day I was released, I went to my doctor and got a physician’s statement saying that I was using marijuana for therapeutic purposes because I suffer from Social Anxiety Syndrome as well as chronic back pain and insomnia. It also stated that my treatment was pursuant to Health and Safety code 1136.5, the Medical Marijuana Initiative.

My court-appointed lawyer genuinely seems to believe me, but seems really unprepared to deal with my case. From the beginning, even before I got the medicinal note, I told the arresting officers that due to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 or Prop 215, I could legally use, but since I could not provide proof at the time of arrest they took me in. My doc’s note got my charges reduced from felony cultivation to misdemeanor possession, but my lawyer says the DA won’t completely dismiss the case. I don’t understand why, if I am a medicinal user, now certified to use it as my medicine.

I wanted to know if you knew of any cases in which the smoker prevailed over the system, or if you know of any Californian legislation that is pro-cannabis that I may provide to my lawyer that might help on my case. I want to do so much in the rest of my life and a stain like this on my record is generally not welcome. Any advice you or anyone else can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Nelson yelling “SOS”
Lynwood California

First of all, you should recognize the behavior that caused you to get busted. Carrying an uncovered marijuana plant two blocks is not a wise move.

Tell your court-appointed lawyer that you are the squeaky hinge and want a jury trial. Don’t do it alone. Go to a local marijuana co-operative or activist organization to seek advice, help and support. You may also wish to publicize your case to embarrass the DA. They really don’t like press about how they harass sick people.

There is a lot of precedent for winning these cases. All over California, juries are deciding in favor of defendants in marijuana cases. Some organizations to contact for advice are California NORML, (www.canorml.org), the American Medical Marijuana Organization (www.levellers.org/ammo.htm) or the American Medical Marijuana Association (www.drugsense.org/amma).

After you win the case, the next step is to force a recall election of the district attorney. In Marin County, director of the Marin Cannabis Alliance Lynette Shaw was persecuted by DA Paula Kamena, who Shaw had helped elect. After unsuccessfully trying to reason with her, Shaw helped with a petition drive to recall Kamena, and she is now facing a recall election.

It cost contributors a total of less than $15,000 to get signatures. It’s costing the county about $500,000 to hold the election. A few more hits like that adds up to real money for the county. They’ll get the message pretty quickly. If Kamena is not recalled this time, Shaw vows another recall. Advice to Paula ? Get your resume ready; the people are throwing you out. No more government welfare for you.

Readers with grow questions (or answers) should send them to Ed at:
Ask Ed, PMB 147, 530 Divisadero St., San Francisco, California 94117, USA
You can also email Ed at [email protected], and send queries via his website at www.quicktrading.com.
All featured questions will be rewarded with a copy of Marijuana Question? Ask Ed. Sorry, Ed cannot send personal replies to your questions.