Pubdate: Wed, 25 Jul 2007
Source: Auburn Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Gold Country Media
Author: Penne Usher, Journal Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Foothills Doctor And Husband Say They Grow Legal Marijuana

Two Cool residents could face up to 40 years in prison and millions 
in fines, if found guilty of manufacturing and selling large amounts 
of marijuana.

But the Cool professionals, a doctor and a lawyer by trade, say they 
are unfairly targeted and that the pot they were growing, completely 
legal, was allowed under the California Compassionate Use Act.

Dr. Marion "Molly" Fry and her attorney husband, Dale Schafer, were 
indicted by the U.S. Attorney's office in June 2005.

Their case is headed to federal court Aug. 1 in Sacramento.

The indictment contends Fry and Schafer cultivated 100 marijuana 
plants at their home and "knowingly and intentionally conspired" to 
distribute marijuana.

Schafer has hired high-profile attorney J. Tony Serra. The San 
Francisco attorney is well known for representing Ellie Nesler and 
members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, or SLA.

Fry's San Francisco attorney, Laurence Lichter, said his client was a 
recovering cancer patient and used cannabis to suppress side effects 
of chemotherapy.

"Her oncologist recommended she try marijuana to counter the side 
effects," Lichter said Tuesday. "It worked like magic on her."

The indictment alleges that Fry and Schafer conspired to distribute 
marijuana and manufacture at least 100 plants.

"God no we've never had a hundred plants," Schafer said Wednesday. 
"They'd have to add up multiple years of grows to add up to a hundred."

In El Dorado County, where Fry and Schafer live, valid medical 
marijuana patients, with a doctor's recommendation, are allowed no 
more than 20 plants at one time.

"From March 1 until Aug. 31, for outdoor gardens, no more than 10 
mature plants," said Detective Danny Bears, with the El Dorado County 
Sheriff's Office, "For processed, dried cannabis, you can have one 
pound from March 1 through Aug.31 and two pounds from Sept. 1 until 
the last day of February."

Fry said back when she started growing marijuana for medical 
purposes, there were no guidelines. "There were no rules then about 
how many plants we could have had," she said. "(Schafer) put out a 
few plants for me one year and a few the next year."

According to a DEA action filed in 2002, Schafer kept processed 
marijuana in Fry's medical office and on "several occasions, he sold 
processed marijuana to individuals."

Fry and Schafer, both deny any wrongdoing.

"There was never marijuana sold out of that office, - period," Schafer said.

The DEA action claims that a federal undercover agent was able to 
obtain a marijuana recommendation from Fry's office without a 
thorough medical exam.

"That is possible," Fry said. "An undercover officer may have been 
able to get a recommendation."

Fry said years ago she would allow a patient 30 days to obtain their 
medical records.

"I'm a physician," she said. "I was operating on the idea of 
psychiatric medication that would help people. I interviewed people 
for 20 to 30 minutes a piece."

Fry's DEA certificate of registration was revoked, which means, Fry 
cannot legally write prescriptions for narcotics.

A federal indictment filed June 15, 2005 with the US District Court 
for the Eastern District of California, contends that beginning on or 
about Aug. 1, 1999 through Sept. 28, 2001 the couple "knowingly and 
intentionally conspired with each other," and others to "distribute marijuana."

Effective Nov. 1, 1996 voters in California approved Prop. 215, known 
as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. It provides that persons may 
poses marijuana "upon the written or oral recommendation no approval 
of a physician."

There is no state regulation or standard of the cultivation and/or 
distribution medical marijuana. The establishment of any guidelines 
are left to local jurisdictions, which can vary widely.

For example, Marin County allows up to six mature plants, and/or a 
half-pound dried marijuana. Its neighbor, Sonoma County permits 
possession of three pounds of marijuana, and allows cultivation of up 
to 99 plants, and physicians may recommend more for "exceptional 
patients," according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's Web site. 
If found guilty of the charges of conspiracy and manufacturing, Fry 
and Schafer face 5 t o 40 years in prison, a $2 million fine, or both.
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