Pubdate: Sat, 08 Sep 2001
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Copyright: 2001 The Orange County Register
Author: Courtney Perkes


Marvin Chavez Contends The Drugs Were For His Sole Use, As Prop. 215 Allows

SANTA ANA -- Medical-marijuana activist Marvin Chavez could face more 
criminal charges after police uprooted 46 marijuana plants from his Santa 
Ana back yard and seized 16 pounds of the packaged drug early Friday.

Chavez is a vocal supporter of Proposition 215, a voter-approved initiative 
allowing medical patients to grow and smoke marijuana. Last year, Chavez 
was released from state prison after serving more than a year for selling 
and transporting marijuana.

"They arrested me for exercising my rights," said Chavez, 46.

Vickie Hix, senior deputy district attorney, said she would review the case 
to determine if charges should be filed against Chavez, who said he smokes 
marijuana to ease chronic back pain.

Hix said the state law allows patients to grow the plant, but only for 
their personal use. Police said the amount of the drug seized was much more 
than one person could consume. In addition to the dried, packaged drug, the 
plants would have yielded about 50 pounds.

"If we make a determination that the cultivation is far beyond what would 
be for personal use, charges might be filed," Hix said.

Santa Ana police officer Mario Corona said police received an anonymous tip 
and conducted a monthlong investigation before serving a search warrant at 
Chavez's house in the 1900 block of Meriday Lane.

Chavez said he was three weeks away from harvest and had planned for the 
crop - which included plants 5 feet tall -- to last him a year. He said the 
plants were intended only for himself.

Signs posted in his backyard greenhouse say that he's a registered patient 
with the Orange County Cannabis Co-op and that he is allowed to cultivate 
the plant. Plastic stakes in the ground detail the planting date and 
variety of marijuana.

"Cannabis is my No. 1 medicine," Chavez said.
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