Pubdate: Sat, 10 Mar 2001
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Copyright: 2001 The Orange County Register
Contact:  P.O. Box 11626, Santa Ana, CA 92711
Fax: (714) 565-3657
Author: Teri Sforza, The Orange County Register


It has been more than four years since California's medical marijuana law 

More than three years since Orange County's first cannabis co-op volunteer 
was arrested.

Two years since its director went to state prison, and nine months since he 
was released on bail pending appeal.

"All this time, and they are still denying us the right to use Proposition 
215," said Marvin Chavez, director of the Orange County Patient, Doctor, 
Nurse Support Group Cannabis Co-op, who was convicted of selling pot after 
a judge denied him the right to mount a defense based on the medical 
marijuana law.

"I knew this was going to be a hell of a war, but the question is, for how 

Eight other states approved medical marijuana laws in the wake of 
California's -- and many are far ahead of California when it comes to 

In California, activists wait. After years of lying essentially dormant for 
fear of the law, Orange County's cannabis co-op is taking tentative steps 
forward. It no longer has a business license and a meeting place in Garden 
Grove, as it did in 1997. It no longer distributes "medicine" in exchange 
for "donations," the practice that landed Chavez in jail.

But it has a new phone number, directs potential patients to doctors in Los 
Angeles and Santa Barbara who are not afraid to recommend the drug, 
counsels them on how to grow their own pot once they have a doctor's 
permission and funnels them to cannabis clubs in Hollywood and Inglewood if 
they lack a green thumb.

"The organization does exist, and I'm here to guide patients and doctors," 
Chavez said. "I refuse to allow the authorities to imprison my mind or 
spirit. Prop. 215 is the law."

The Orange County cannabis co-op's new number is (714) 836-6997.
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