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Indybay Feature

Rally to Support Medical Marijuana Patients

Wednesday, March 03, 2004
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
Hall of Justice; Municipal Court Department 10; 850 Bryant St.; San Francisco, CA

When: Wednesday, March 3, 2004; 12 Noon to about 4 PM
Where: Hall of Justice; Municipal Court Department 10; 850 Bryant St.; San Francisco, CA
Bag Lunches provided. Please bring medicine to share.

As many of you know, Tom the Nurse, a patient and caregiver was arrested on June 6, 2003 at UN Plaza by Officer Kevin Martin SFPD #24, despite the fact that he produced his DR's recommendation when accosted by Martin, a clear violation of the SFPD guidelines pertaining to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

The amount of medicine in question in less then one ounce and was stored in two plastic bags, falling well within the amount specified by SB 420. Tom was respectful and complied with every one of the officer's requests, therefore there were no additional circumstances to warrant Tom's arrest. He was, however, taken into custody and booked into City Jail that evening, where he served two days before being released on his own recognizance.

As if the indignity of arrest wasn't enough for Tom to suffer, it is believed Officer Martin or one of his superiors, withdrew over $8,000 from Tom's checking account immediately after finding his checkbook. Asset seizure may be the normal procedure for SFPD personnel when arresting drug dealers or mobsters, but when does possession of two small plastic bags of medical marijuana give police the right to go to Tom's bank and withdraw his life savings?

Since Tom has abided by the conditions set forth by state law SB 420, it would seem that he would be able to travel freely with his medicine any place within the state of California without fearing arrest and asset forfeiture every time he gets upon his bike.

As a Licensed Vocational Nurse, Tom does not hide the fact that he is a caregiver for a small number of patients and provides them with medical marijuana, which is his professional duty. The actions of Officer Martin clearly suggest that he had been tipped off about Tom's role as a nurse and caregiver; evidently seeking to summarily punish him for his public admission that he regularly provides legitimate patients with medical marijuana.

Had this been someone with a lower profile, who similarly to Tom, possessed all the necessary documentation of his medical marijuana patient/caregiver status, and had not been charged with unrelated offenses before or during the time of his contact with a police officer; that person would have in all probability been released and provided with an 849(b) form where applicable.

Instead, Mr. Juzbasic has been charged with felony possession of narcotics for sale and had his financial assets seized [which can only be recovered in separate CA Civil Court proceedings which do not have to take Prop 215 or SB 420 into account when deciding whether or not to return Tom's money to him].
Undeniably, patients still have much to fear from the law, because it has been only recently that the courts have ruled in favor of the rights of patients to seek appropriate medical remedies regarding their personal health. [It is hoped that these rulings will continue to stand in the wake of a maniacal onslaught from a misinformed few who seek to deny us any relief from physical suffering unless they personally approve of the means.]

There is a double standard that exists in S.F. regarding medical marijuana laws. Despite official claims of support for medical marijuana by Mayor Newsom, D.A. Harris and the SFPD brass, law-abiding citizens are still subject to the same continuing harassment, arrest, asset forfeiture and prosecution that they were in 1995.

It has been seven and one half years since the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 was approved by the majority of California voters. Since that time, public officials, with a few notable exceptions, have either ignored Prop 215 altogether or have cited federal law as an overriding factor when deliberately ignoring the wishes of millions of California voters and have continued to seek criminal sanctions against those acting within their rights to use marijuana as medicine upon the advice their physician.
At first glance, one might assume that our own government administrators, officers of the court and peace officers do not respect the laws passed by a majority of voters and act in an unethical manner for failing to obey the same laws that you or I must obey or face punitive legal action.

What gives public servants the right to stonewall us by denying us our civil liberties and constitutional rights under the same laws they are sworn to uphold?

Would they instead prefer us to adhere to the same hypocritical standards that they themselves continually flaunt? I would think not, but as a cannabis activist for the past twenty-five years, I have been personally lied to by too many politicians, lawyers and cops to mention; the same people who promise to follow the letter of the law publicly, while privately implying their intent to act against myself and others who share my views.

There is only one way to prevent these hypocrites from conducting themselves dishonorably while deliberately misleading the general public.. That is to hold them publicly accountable for their unethical behavior and inform others about their activities against the public good.

We find ourselves, once again, out in the streets and in the courts at the Hall of [In]Justice publicly confronting those very same District Attorneys and Municipal Judges who try to convince us at every election that they respect the will of the people, when it is clear they do not. We must unequivocally remind them of their sworn responsibility to uphold the law in a manner that is consistent with the public's wishes and well being and demonstrate our tireless vigilance with our continued presence.
Added to the calendar on Wed, Mar 3, 2004 12:59AM
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