Marijuana Defendant Claims He Was Targeted

Marijuana Defendant Claims He Was Targeted
Posted by CN Staff on February 20, 2006 at 20:28:34 PT
By Pam Gehl, H-P Correspondent
Source: Herald-Palladium
South Haven, Michigan -- A former Bloomingdale elementary and middle school counselor claims he has been targeted unfairly for prosecution on a marijuana charge because he has been a vocal advocate of legalizing drugs.“This is very much about my standing up against an unreasonable search and standing up against harassment,” said Greg Francisco.
Francisco, 48, of Michigan 43, Paw Paw, will face a jury trial within the next several months on a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana on May 5 in Bloomingdale.Francisco claims his truck was illegally targeted when a dog trained to sniff out controlled substances was brought to the middle school parking lot for a routine search. The search found a stem and some “roach” material in the truck that tested positive for marijuana.After a hearing on Wednesday in South Haven, Van Buren District Court Judge Arthur Clarke III ordered that a trial date be scheduled within 60 to 75 days.During the hearing, Francisco’s lawyer, Matthew Abel of Detroit, argued unsuccessfully that the charges should be dismissed because there was no probable cause for the search and because the federal categorization of marijuana as illegal is unconstitutional because it has a medicinal purpose in relieving pain.He also argued that causing Francisco to have a criminal record under the circumstances was cruel and unusual punishment.Clarke did grant Abel’s motion to allow a private expert to analyze the drug evidence. He also ordered the prosecutor to turn over copies of all pertinent lab and police reports. That information is expected to include videotape of the search at the school parking lot.Francisco said he was charged because of his “high profile” effort to legalize drugs.“I write lots and lots of letters to the editor and I send them all over the United States and Canada and Europe on the efficacy of the war on drugs. It is not that I advocate using drugs, it is just that what we are doing is just making the problem worse. I use the analogy that we abandoned Prohibition in this country not because we realized that alcohol was not dangerous but because our grandparents came to learn that by criminalizing it we were just driving it underground.” Assistant Prosecutor Cory Johnson said Francisco has not been targeted and that prosecution in the case is a routine matter.“Until the case was brought to my attention I had never heard of Mr. Francisco,” Johnson said.Francisco said he was active in organizations that advocated legalizing drugs. He is a former board member and treasurer of Michigan NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and was a founding board member of Educators for Sensible Drug Policies.He said the school district received complaints about his political activities, and he resigned from his position on the state NORML board in January 2005.Francisco said he has cooperated in the past and allowed searches when detection dogs had alerted on his vehicle, but decided to refuse a search in May based on principle. Francisco said dogs from private companies were unreliable and not a legal reason for a probable cause search.He also noted that on the same day the dog alerted on five other teacher vehicles and nothing was found in those vehicles.A law enforcement dog was brought in after a private detection dog singled out the truck. The police dog also alerted on the truck.Francisco said he was forced to resign from his counselor job after the search.Bloomingdale Public Schools Superintendent Dale Schreuder said Francisco resigned last May, but the resignation was voluntary. He said Francisco was with the district for five years.Francisco said if he were convicted he would permanently lose his credentials to work with students.“This will take his livelihood, and all because of a stem the size of a toothpick on the floor of his truck,” said Francisco’s wife, Amy.The case has attracted advocates for drug law reform from across the state.“This is a free speech case,” said Charles Ream, a trustee in Scio Township near Ann Arbor and member of Michigan NORML, who attended the hearing. “It has nothing to do with drugs.” Note: Ex-Bloomingdale school counselor has called for legalizing drugs.Newshawk: EkimSource: Herald-Palladium, The (St. Joseph, MI)Author: Pam Gehl, H-P CorrespondentPublished: February 20, 2006Copyright: 2006 The Herald-PalladiumContact: letters heraldpalladium.comWebsite: NORML -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #5 posted by ekim on February 22, 2006 at 21:46:44 PT
Pres Bush went to Golden Co to see NPEL
on mon the pres went to see the National Renewable Energy Lab ----
On Sun the press was told that the funds to rehire the 38 jobs at the NREL had been restored so -- in other words dont ask the pres about that imbearessing little mix up please.Has anyone watched the news about how Dubia started out with 44 miles of ocean front property and now after two years of dreging has increased the ocean milage to 950 creating a palm tree look from outerspace pics. 
Hey =======and why all the fuss about the ports --cant anyone see that we must protect our ports like New O from another disaster by helping to restore the wet lands and buffer the US coast with tech Dubia learned expanding their coast. and by the way remember way back during a earlier hurican down in  Nicaragua a Canadian Hemp crop still stood standing after a very bad hurican only to be burned on xmass. We have a right to know which crops will withstand the comming high winds and rains and will be valuable for products such as lumber and food.
Nicaragua Faces Canadian Lawsuit 
Posted by FoM on November 20, 2001 at 09:57:43 PT
By John Saunders 
Source: Globe and Mail
 Paul Wylie, a self-taught horticulturalist from Guelph, Ont., spent more than 11 months in a Nicaraguan prison after officials burned his industrial hemp crop and accused him of growing marijuana.
He blames U.S. antidrug efforts, which make no distinction between hemp and marijuana, and U.S.-Nicaraguan politics, but he is setting out to make the Nicaraguan government pay.
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Comment #4 posted by ekim on February 22, 2006 at 21:26:34 PT
Donna Cockrel what happen to you
In 1996, the same week the first national conference on industrial hemp convened in Lexington, Kentucky, a 5th grade school teacher, Donna Cockrel, invited the actor Woody Harrelson, and Jake Graves II, an eminent Kentucky banker who had cultivated hemp during World War II to talk to her class about industrial hemp. They handed out sterilized hemp seeds. Unfortunately, DARE held its annual anti-drug assembly that same day. Ms. Cockrel was fired. Only in early 2002 did a federal court order her school board to reconsider its action.  
 Harrelson Helps Hemp Get Its Day in Court 
Posted by FoM on December 01, 2001 at 16:38:48 PT
By David Horrigan, The National Law Journal 
 Industrial hemp may be a boon to the environment, but it hasn't done much for the teaching career of Donna Cockrel. 
Industrial hemp is one of two varieties of the hemp plant, the other being marijuana. In 1996, Cockrel gave her Shelby County, Ky., fifth-grade class a presentation in which the use of industrial hemp fibers as an alternative to cutting trees was discussed. As part of the presentation, actor Woody Harrelson addressed Cockrel's class about the relative benefits of hemp. Comment #1 posted by dddd on April 03, 2000 at 21:08:56 PT
Another "slight ommision" 
"Once deemed an indispensable commodity in the global market, it was
replaced by a multitude of synthetic fibers by the mid-1900s, when it fell out of
favor in the United States because of its relation to marijuana. "Yes,it is true that the outlawing of hemp was in part due to its relationship to marijuana.
But the main reason for the prohibition of hemp,was the interests of companies like Dupont,who were involved in producing synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester.They realized that hemp would be a serious alternative,and were behind much of the laws against hemp.
I'm pretty sure oil interests were also in favor of making hemp illegal...............dddd=====good ol 4d man what a flash back.
you know to this day i do not understand how the southern states can allow the prohibition of Cannabis knowing the impact of doing so would mean the total brain washing of all those whose forfathers grew and produced hundreds of value added goods made from Cannabis.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on February 21, 2006 at 07:32:55 PT
You are very welcome. Keep up the really good work you are doing.
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Comment #2 posted by ekim on February 21, 2006 at 07:29:32 PT
Pres Bush goes to Nat'l Renewable Energy Lab today
Hemp 77% celluloseWhile corn is primarily used to distill ethanol, a new facility in Spain
will convert wheat straw as the ethanol's feedstock.The full story is available at is a pdf overview of NREL/Genencor work from 2003. is an NREL Press release about Genencor/NREL winning a Top 100 R&D
award in 2004. see emperor ch. 4. 1937 Billion Dollar Crop.
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Comment #1 posted by ekim on February 21, 2006 at 05:03:51 PT
HB 5470 Rep LaMar Lemmons III Med Cannabis 
Thank you FoM just think that over 700,0000 are arrested evey year. How many have lost their jobs.Radio news got it wrong. Today's hearing was simply to transfer the 
bill from Health Policy Committee to Gov't Policy. An entirely routine 
matter that is actually in our favor since it is much more likely to 
receive a hearing and be voted out to the full House from this new 
committee.  Actual hearing will be w/i next 60 days
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