Pubdate: Fri, 25 May 2001
Source: Lodi News-Sentinel (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Lodi News-Sentinel
Author: Shannon Darling


The Supreme Court said "no" to medical marijuana use May 14.

About one week earlier, on May 8, the Lodi police told Brian Bader "no" by 
seizing 147 marijuana plants from his Lodi home.

The plants are for medical use, Bader said, adding he will continue to 
fight for the medical use of marijuana despite the Supreme Court ruling.

"I have nothing to lose," Bader said. "I'm dying of a soft tissue disease."

Bader appears in court for his arraignment today in Lodi. Charges include 
cultivation of marijuana with possession for sale.

Bader, 43, was born and raised in Lodi. Today, he lives in the same house 
he grew up in after recently buying it from his father. He left his home 
when he was 15 and began working as a roofer. Since then, Bader has had a 
successful roofing company. But now Bader does few roofs because of his 

Bader also sells a Bloody Mary mix called Bull Shot.

Often Bader said he feels queasy and it's difficult for him to eat. 
Marijuana helps restore his appetite, he said.

"Two years ago, I was told I had five to seven years to live," Bader said.

Others claim marijuana eases symptoms of chemotherapy, and the suffering of 
AIDS and other illness. Bader said he is part of a Lodi medical marijuana 
alliance and feels he is fighting for others in the alliance who are too 
sick to fight. More than 1,100 people are in the alliance, Bader said.

"There are so many sick people out there," he said. "Who else is going to 
help these people?"

Although Bader said he is not sure exactly what he has, doctors tell him 
it's a soft tissue disease and poor circulation. As a reminder of his 
healthier days, Bader keeps a photo of himself in a body-building 
competition. Since the photo of the muscular Bader was taken, he has lost 
close to 40 pounds.

"It's really hard to eat."

In the Supreme Court ruling, Justice John Paul Stevens, while agreeing with 
the majority of justices, wrote that the Supreme Court decision went too far.

There should be an exception "for whom there is no alternative means of 
avoiding starvation or extraordinary suffering," Stevens said.

Californians passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, in 1996 
allowing the use of marijuana for medical reasons.

The Supreme Court ruling did not specifically address Proposition 215 or 
similar laws in other states.

The Supreme Court ruled distributing the drug was against the law.

Bader said he was growing the marijuana for himself.

Bader has read 80 pages of documents from the Supreme Court ruling and 
believes the ruling does not prohibit him from growing the plants. He will 
represent himself in court today.

However, Lodi police officials believe the number of plants Bader had in 
his home and in his backyard exceeded the amount one person would need.

The Supreme Court decision on marijuana doesn't affect the job of police 
officers, said Sgt. Frank Grenko of the Lodi Police Department.

However, Grenko does see a trend with the passage of Proposition 215 and, 
last year, Proposition 36 -- which mandates treatment rather than 
incarceration for minor drug offenses.

"Slowly but surely, drugs are being decriminalized in California," Grenko 
said. "Ten years ago, Prop. 36 would not have had a chance."

Lodi Deputy District Attorney Patrick O'Hern has not dealt with a medical 
marijuana case before and would not comment on Bader's case.

Voters in Arizona, Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and 
Washington have all approved initiatives allowing medical marijuana.

California law allows those with a doctor's prescription to grow their own 
marijuana for medical purposes only. And that's what Bader said he was 
doing all along. Bader has a physician's statement from a doctor in 
Berkeley prescribing the use of marijuana for his conditions.

"I don't plan on doing anything but going to a jury trial," Bader said.

The Lodi Police Department reports about 30 percent of those involved in 
pot busts claim the marijuana is for medical use.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom