Pubdate: Tue, 07 May 2002
Source: Lodi News-Sentinel (CA)
Copyright: 2002 Lodi News-Sentinel
Author: Nicholas Grudin
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)


The Lodi man arrested in May 2001 for growing nearly 150 marijuana plants at
his residence was found guilty of possession of marijuana for sale and
cultivation of marijuana Friday in a case that the district attorney
considers a benchmark decision for the county.

Brian Bader, 44, who claims that the 147 marijuana plants were used to
maintain his legal supply of medicinal marijuana, was arrested in 2001 after
police discovered the plants being grown in his home in the 500 block of
South School Street.

"We are trying to figure out where the point is that juries will decide what
is too much - 147 plants is too much," San Joaquin County Deputy District
Attorney Phil Urie said Monday.

The DA's office has lost similar medicinal marijuana cases and is trying to
set precedents for what will be considered a legal amount of marijuana.

"This is a really sticky area of the law," Urie said. "It really doesn't
make any sense."

Bader will likely be sentenced to less than a year in county jail, although
he could get more under the law, Urie said.

He is currently free on his own recognizance and will be sentenced June 24.

Bader, a lifelong Lodi resident, is part of a medical marijuana alliance and
feels he is fighting for others in the alliance who are too sick to fight
for themselves.

California law allows people with a doctor's prescription to grow their own
marijuana for medicinal purposes. Bader, who suffers from a painful terminal
soft-tissue illness that depletes his appetite, has a marijuana prescription
from a doctor in Berkeley.

But Bader's marijuana, if harvested and dried, would have sold for up to
$180,000 on the street, police said.

"It was just too much marijuana," Urie said.

The question that the jury's decision hinged on was whether Bader was
selling the drug or using it for personal, medical purposes.

Chris Conrad, a self-proclaimed cannabis expert from El Cerrito, testified
last week as an expert witness on behalf of Bader, saying the official legal
estimates of how much marijuana Bader was growing were far askew.

Conrad said that measuring marijuana by the plant and disregarding the size
of the plant is like measuring tomatoes by the plant instead of by the
harvest. He said Bader's plants were small and unproductive, and could have
easily yielded only enough to supply an individual for a year or so.

But attempting to undermine Conrad's credibility, Urie waged a brutal
cross-examination at one point causing Conrad to raise his voice. Urie said
the expert witness has a personal mission to legalize marijuana use, that he
"founded" a religion that centers around the drug and verified that he has
no formal scientific credentials.

The jury deliberated Thursday and reached a verdict Friday.

Bader could not be reached for comment.
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