Pubdate: Sun, 04 Mar 2012
Source: Lake City Reporter (FL)
Copyright: 2012sLake City Reporter
Author: Hannah O. Brown


Vet again faces prospect of prison for what he says is medicinal

Delbert Mullins lifted his arm just above his shoulder to show how
tall the marijuana plants were before they were confiscated last August.

"Careful, don't hurt your shoulder," his wife Karen

Delbert was arrested by the Columbia County Sheriff's office on Aug.
10 after law officials conducting an aerial survey spotted two
marijuana plants in his backyard in Fort White.

According to the arrest report, Delbert voluntarily showed the
officers the location of the plants, where they also found three small
seedlings, stalks from 15 marijuana plants and eight plastic
gallon-sized bags full of harvested leaves.

He was offered a deal to attend drug court, but after accepting
discovered that he was unable to attend because of a multitude of
disabilities and a lack of income. Delbert earns $800 monthly.

The requirements of drug court were to take three to five drug tests
each week, with a $20 fee attached to each one, as well as to attend
three hour sessions a week in Lake City for individuals who are
addicted to drugs.

He says he first began smoking marijuana after his insurance declined
coverage for a prescription drug called Marinol after having covered
the cost for more than a decade.

"He doesn't have an addiction problem, he turns down pain meds," Karen

Delbert says the reason he grew the plants, was purely out of
necessity. He claims that he harvested the leaves before a bud had
grown on the plants, taking away the intoxicating effects that
ordinary result from its consumption. However, they help with the pain
and nausea associated with his long list of ailments, including severe
back and neck pain, heart disease, arthritis, Hepatitis C as well as
other diseases, many of them degenerative.

"It's not am I hurting, it's where am I hurting the worst," Delbert

The son of a Baptist preacher, it is safe to say that Delbert lived
hard in his youth.

"My father had me carrying four-foot sliding glass doors when I was
eleven," he said.

Delbert's history is intense. He spent a year in Korea during the
Vietnam War, worked years in construction, suffered from alcoholism in
earlier days and was a injured in several car wrecks--including one
where he was hit by a drunk driver traveling 90 mph, according to Delbert.

Later years continued to bring tragedy to their lives. In 1996, their
daughter died at age 13 when she was run over by a pick-up truck.
Their lives were changed. They have spent years trying to recover, but
even still well up in tears when they mention her name.

The circular house they live in now was built to remember her. It's
structure based on her favorite song, "The Circle of Life" from the
Lion King, which the Mullins' watched in a movie theater together just
before she died.

Delbert and Karen now wait in their woodland home, hoping the case
will be dismissed. A court hearing is set for Monday. Delbert faces
charges for manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of
cannabis and drug paraphernalia. If convicted, he could spend a
possible 11 years in prison for these charges.

"I am terrified of how I am going to deal with the pain in prison," he
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