Source: The Olympian
Author: The Associated Press 
Pubdate: 29 Mar 1998
Contact: Medical marijuana patient is indicted

SELLING: Agents find more than l00 pot plants and $53,000 when they raid
the home of a man who used the drug for multiple sclerosis.

SPOKANE - A man allowed by a judge to smoke marijuana to help alleviate
symptoms of multiple sclerosis has been charged with growing large amounts
of the drug and selling it.

Samuel Dean Diana is one of five men named in a grand jury indictment
returned in U.S. District Court last week.

Agents who raided Diana's rural home outside Cheney found more than 100
marijuana plants and $53,000 in cash, authorities say.

In 1981, a Spokane County judge gave Diana permission to use small amounts
of marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, a chronic
disorder that can result in speech problems, loss of muscle coordination
and other difficulties.

Diana, who has been summoned to appear Thursday before U.S. Magistrate
Judge Cynthia Imbrogno, said he has smoked marijuana daily for 20 years for
medical reasons.

"It's the best drug on the market for MS," Diana said Friday.  It's just
that you can't legally buy it anywhere.  There aren't any government stores."

Federal, state and county drug agents who raided Diana's home found pot
plants ranging from seedlings to mature plants, and others that were being

"The indictment speaks for itself, and it charges, among other things, a
conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and distribution of marijuana,"
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington said.

Diana is accused in the five count indictment of maintaining a place for
manufacturing, storing, distributing and using a controlled substance.

He also is charged with conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, manufacturing
more than 100 pot plants, possessing with intent to distribute more than
100 pot plants and distribution of marijuana.

Others named in the indictment are Benjamin Luke Francis, Henry Joseph
Chiappetta, Guy Gordon Gardener and Larry Fay Spink. Their ages and
hometowns weren't available.

All four are charged with conspiracy and manufacturing more than 100
marijuana plants.

Francis also is charged with possession and distribution of marijuana.

Tim Trageser, a lawyer representing Chiappetta, said he "anticipates some
of the people involved may be raising the medical-necessity defense."

Diana's lawyer, Phillip "Dutch" Wetzel of Spokane, said he couldn't comment.