Pubdate: Wed, 02 June 1999
Source: San Francisco Bay Guardian (CA)
Copyright: 1999 San Francisco Bay Guardian
Author: Randall Lyman


The Butte County district attorney has dropped its case against Pete Brady.
The Chico journalist was charged with possession of marijuana despite being
a lawful medical marijuana user under California's 1996 Compassionate Use
Act, enacted by voters as Proposition 215 (see "Reefer Madness," 4/7/99).

"The District Attorney's Office is signaling its willingness to work
humanely with medical marijuana defendants," Brady, who represented himself
in court, told us. "We need a truce in this drug war, so people on all
sides of the issue can be compassionate with each other and work toward
win-win outcomes."

Brady was arrested in January after a four-agency task force, composed of
local and federal drug agents, observed him at the Lake Tahoe home of Steve
Kubby, the Libertarian Party's candidate for governor, whom Brady was

Kubby and his wife, Michelle -- both medical marijuana users and activists
- -- are awaiting trial in Placer County on a total of 19 counts of
possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana. A court date has
been set for July 20.

In a setback for medical marijuana advocates, however, a federal district
court in Sacramento found B.E. Smith guilty May 21 of growing 87 marijuana
plants at his Trinity County home.

Although Smith says he was growing medical marijuana for himself and
others, Judge Garland Burrell Jr. refused to admit into the trial any
testimony on medical marijuana or the Compassionate Use Act, ruling that a
state law had no relevance to federal charges. Smith's was the first case
brought against a medical marijuana user under federal rather than state law.

The ruling provoked a tense moment during the trial. Actor Woody Harrelson,
an outspoken marijuana and hemp activist who testified for Smith, argued
with the judge and finally asked, "How do you sleep at night?"
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