Pubdate: Fri, 16 Nov 2001
Source: Orange County Weekly (CA)
Copyright: 2001, Orange County Weekly, Inc.
Section: A Clockwork Orange
Author: Matt Coker
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Oakland Cannabis Court Case)

[Content not related to drug policy snipped for brevity]


Nov. 5 was the fifth anniversary of California's passage of the medical
marijuana initiative, but Dubya has not sent a card to mark the occasion.
Instead, he has sent jack-booted federal thugs up and down the Golden State
to uproot pot grown by ill people, break up cannabis co-ops, and seize files
from doctors who recommend the drug for patients. "The attorney general and
the administration have been very clear: we will be aggressive," Justice
Department spokeswoman Susan Dryden recently told The New York Times. "The
Bush administration is forcing sick people to become criminals," countered
West Hollywood City Councilman Steve Martin, who sits on the board for the
recently raided Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center, the state's largest
co-op. California Medical Association spokesman Peter Warren said of the
assault on the doctor-patient relationship, "It's especially shocking in
this time of national crisis that federal agents are out tossing doctors'
offices." Even a district attorney, San Francisco's Terence Hallinan, asked
the feds on Nov. 6 to knock it off. "Any move to close dispensaries will
result in sick people trying to get marijuana from street vendors, whose
product may or may not be safe," said Hallinan, who credited the
medical-marijuana initiative with reducing crime, saving money and
contributing to the public's well-being. 


Among the locals caught up in the asinine war on legal drugs is
medical-marijuana activist Marvin Chavez, who spent the day before the
initiative's anniversary pleading innocent to charges of cultivating and
possessing pot for sale. The Santa Ana resident has admitted to growing and
smoking grass to relieve pain from spinal arthritis--he even has a doctor's
note. (Note to doctors: you may want to double-lock your file cabinets.) But
OC prosecutors say the 60 pounds of cannabis they pulled from Marvin's
garden was far more than he needed, that to get through a 60-pound bag, it'd
take 12 joints per day for 12 years--and a whole lotta bags of Cool Ranch
Doritos. Chavez, who is already appealing a 1999 conviction on similar
charges, faces three years in the pokey this time.

[Content not related to drug policy snipped for brevity]
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