Pubdate: Tue,  8 Feb 2000
Source: Redding Record Searchlight (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Redding Record Searchlight - E.W. Scripps
Contact:  PO Box 492397, Redding, CA 96049-2397

Mom, Son Accused Of Cultivation

Lydia Hall helped mist baby marijuana plants in her son's closet and smoked
portions of three joints to ease migraine headaches but didn't really care
much for pot, she testified Monday at her trial for cultivation of marijuana.

The 62-year-old grandmother and her 38-year-old son, Jim, both of Redding,
are on trial in Shasta County Superior Court, arguing that their growing
and use of marijuana was for personal medicinal use.

Both are accused of conspiracy to cultivate marijuana. Jim Hall also is
charged with possessing the drug for sale.

Lydia Hall, as did her son earlier in the trial, testified that she tried
marijuana to ease pain, in her case blinding headaches she says were caused
by pressure behind her eyes and a glaucoma medication she was taking to
ease that pressure.

She said many others in her family suffered from glaucoma and one aunt was
blinded by the eye disorder, so when an eye doctor ordered glaucoma tests
she was terrified.

Lydia Hall also said that after another doctor prescribed medicine to ease
the pressure in her eyes she began suffering almost daily headaches that
clouded her vision and sometimes left her temporarily blind.

When she called her doctor's office, she said, she talked to an assistant
who checked with the doctor and told her the medicine could be causing
headaches but to keep taking it.

At about the same time, Lydia Hall said, her son, who suffered severe back
injuries, was talking about using marijuana to ease his pain. He and others
told her that Frank Fisher, who practiced in Anderson, was the only doctor
who would recommend medical marijuana under the Compassionate Use Act
approved by voters in 1996.

Fisher, who faces manslaughter charges in a case involving opium derivative
prescriptions, invoked the Fifth Amendment last week when asked to testify
in the Hall case.

Lydia Hall went to Fisher and received a recommendation from him that
suggested she be allowed to grow and use marijuana for medical purposes,
she said.

After that she and her son planted a marijuana garden and had harvested one
crop when Shasta County sheriff's deputies confiscated their plants last
year, Lydia Hall said.

She also said that although the marijuana alleviated pressure in her eyes
and eliminated her headaches, she really didn't like smoking it and was
looking into other ways she might use it, perhaps in baked goods.

Prosecutor Tim Kam asked her for details of her visit to Fisher, whether
she knew he was not an eye specialist, whether he had performed any medical
tests and what she had told Fisher about why she had visited him.

Hall said Fisher had performed standard blood pressure and other tests but
had not checked her for glaucoma.

"The way I remember it is I told Dr. Fisher I wanted to try and get rid of
my migraines and that was my plan," she said.

Kam also sought details of her marijuana use - how much she smoked at a
time and how frequently she smoked.

Hall said she smoked marijuana twice before the plants were seized and once
after that, "about a quarter to one-third" of a joint each time.

Kam wanted to know where she got the joints she smoked and when she smoked

"I don't know if I got it from my son - it (the garden) was our joint
project. The last time I got it was from my son because our joint project
was gone," seized by deputies, Lydia Hall replied.

"How did you smoke it?" Kam asked.

"I pulled the smoke into my lungs and held it as long as I could and
exhaled it," Lydia Hall responded.

"Did you feel high in any way?" Kam asked a little later.

"No, I don't think so," she said, explaining that she didn't think she had
smoked enough to get high.

Kam persisted, asking if she'd felt euphoric.

"I've never felt euphoric in my life," Lydia Hall answered.

What she felt was fear, she said under questioning from her own attorney,
Eric Berg of Redding.

Berg asked her if she was afraid of the side effects of the medicine she is
still taking to relieve the pressure in her eyes.

"I don't like 'em," she said. "I don't like being even temporarily blind."

Two character witnesses testified briefly after Hall left the stand late
Monday morning and jurors were dismissed until Wednesday because the last
defense witness, a Berkeley doctor who provided Jim Hall's recommendation
for marijuana, is not available to testify until then.

Reporter Maline Hazle can be reached at 225-8266 or at  ---
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