Pubdate: Sat, 08 Sep 2001
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Los Angeles Times
Author: Mai Tran, Times Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)


Drugs: Police Haul Away 40 Plants Growing In His Backyard. 'This Is An Act
Of War,' He Says.

The founder of a medicinal marijuana club was arrested after police
raided his rented home in Santa Ana and uprooted 40 marijuana plants
in the backyard, police said Friday.

Marvin Chavez, 46, was released late Thursday after police searched
his three-bedroom home on Meriday Lane. Police said their
investigation is continuing and that Chavez has not been charged.

Chavez, who says he has provided marijuana to people suffering from
catastrophic illnesses and smokes it daily himself to ease the pain of
arthritis, said the plants that police confiscated were intended for
his own use. "This is my medication," Chavez said Friday. "This is an
act of war to take my medicine away and leave me here suffering."

Police said they obtained a search warrant after getting a tip that
Chavez had a small marijuana farm in his backyard. During the raid,
officers pulled up enough plants--from seedlings to mature
five-footers--to yield 16 pounds of marijuana, said Sgt. Baltazar De
La Riva.

The plants were neatly tagged and coded, police said. Several had been
harvested and were found drying in a tool shed, investigator said.

Chavez, who is free on appeal after a 1999 marijuana conviction, said
he grows a single--yet sizable--crop each year, stocking up before the
cooler, no-growing months approach. He said it took him six month to
grow the marijuana that police confiscated Thursday. "They're just
picking on me," he said.

He said he uses the marijuana to make tea and a special butter spread.
Additionally, he estimated he smokes about four marijuana joints a day
to dull the pain of arthritis and a spinal injury he said he suffered
in a 1991 car accident.

Chavez founded a marijuana club after Proposition 215 was approved in
1996. The initiative was intended to clear the way for the medicinal
use of marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.

After his 1999 conviction, Chavez served one year of a six-year
sentence before he was allowed to post bail pending an appeal.
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