California Medical User Sentenced To Prison!

California Medical User Sentenced To Prison!
Posted by FoM on August 13, 1999 at 14:51:06 PT
NORML's Weekly Update News
Source: NORML
Aug. 12, 1999, Sacramento, CA: The protection afforded patients under California's Proposition 215 proved useless as a defense against federal marijuana cultivation and possession charges, as B.E. Smith received a sentence of 27 months in a federal prison. Smith is the first California medical marijuana patient to be prosecuted under federal law since California voters passed Prop. 215 in 1996. 
Smith, a Vietnam veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, claimed his 87 plant marijuana crop was for his medical use and thus protected under state law. He notified state and federal authorities that he was growing the plants. When state authorities declined to bring charges, the federal prosecutor initiated prosecution.  Early in the trial, U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. granted a motion by the prosecutor to ban any defense testimony regarding either state law or the medical properties of marijuana. At sentencing Judge Burrell handed down a sentence of 27 months in prison, the top of federal sentencing guidelines range, citing what he called Smith's "utter disdain for federal marijuana law."  Smith said, "He (Burrell) has blamed me for the 'great evil' that marijuana causes throughout our nation but he forgets or ignores the great medical value that even the federal government's own research shows can be gained from the proper use of medical marijuana, prescribed by competent medical doctors for a wide variety of illnesses, and for which there is no other known treatment."   NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup said the case "broke no new legal ground." "We have always known that Prop. 15 changed state law, not federal law," he said. "But it is a sad day when the federal government ignores the will of the citizens of California by prosecuting medical users."   For more information, please contact Keith Stroup ofNORML   (202) 483-5500 or David Michael, Esq.,   (415) 986-5591. Prison Term in Medical Pot Case - 8/07/99 Weekly Update News 8/06/99MassCANN Files Decrim Initiatives for Massachusett
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