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Reefer Madness Goes Felony
by Robert Norse
Saturday May 5th, 2012 8:54 AM
Isaac ("Lyrical I") Collins faces felony "possession of marijuana with intent to sell" charges. The War on Drugs and boldness of Drug War cops has increased significantly. For the first time that I remember at the 4-20 rally in the Great Meadow last month, an activist was arrested on felony charges for doing what others around him were doing, celebrating and sharing the joy (not to mention standing up to the absurdity of the laws). There are also racial. class, and political dimensions involved in the arrest since Isaac is African-American, a leading Occupy Santa Cruz activist, and an outspoken street poet who has spoke regularly on my Free Radio Santa Cruz show.
The Sentinel's unhelpful story can be found at . I encourage people to distribute the flier below and support Isaac. The last report I read from the Measure K commission (supposedly charged with monitoring police misconduct around making marijuana busts the lowest priority for consenting adults in private) marijuana busts had increased 50% in 2010. As they've been going up all around the country.

Not a word yet from our local ACLU (who had their national Drug Policy unit stationed here for several years on Pacific Avenue).
by Robert Norse Saturday May 5th, 2012 8:58 AM

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Again, here's the flier.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by John Colby
Saturday May 5th, 2012 7:02 PM
Isaac's arrest is typical of what is happening against Occupy organizers across the nation. It's a typical police state tactic employed by American law enforcement -- charging movement organizers with trumped up charges on minor violations and targeting them with old, outstanding warrants. In this case I don't believe Isaac was targeted because he is African–American: I believe it's more insidious, related to his involvement with Occupy Santa Cruz as a community activist.

This shows how petty, how illegitimate the police apparatus supporting the 1% is. It's going to get worse as the Occupy movement gains more traction, becoming a larger threat to the entrenched elite. Reactionary forces of the 1% are going to completely take off the gloves, showing we really do live in a police state.
by Robert Norse
Saturday May 12th, 2012 10:22 AM
When Isaac came to court, he found there was nothing on the court calendar. He said he'd spoken with the D.A.'s office and they had made no filing yet, but to check in "every week". This, of course, is an abusive practice where the D.A.'s office doesn't advise a potential victim they are not going to be at the court date (and so there's no reason for her or him to be there). Additionally the D.A.'s office apparently won't bother tell the defendant if they do decided to file--which might leave that person open to a misdemeanor Failure to Appear charge.

Broader protests are needed to challenge this abusive practice by Bob Lee's office.

I was advised by another photojournalist, that there were "hundreds" not "thousands" of people at the Great Meadow on April 20th when Isaac was arrested. He also expressed skepticism that the UCSC police were a "snatch squad" in the same way that the Oakland police brutally moved into the crowd on May 1st to disrupt protests there.

For me, the point was the question of whether police agencies are now beginning locally to adopt tactics that involve wading into protests and targeting specific individuals. Admittedly, I have no proof that Isaac was previously singled out for targeting. It may have been that he seemed high-profile. It seems unlikely that anyone complained there. I also regard it as significant (though not conclusive) that he's black and a long-time Occupy supporter. Again no conclusive "smoking gun" here.

Please post any examples of harassment for marijuana use, sales, or cultivation in the Santa Cruz area. This shouldn't be even up for discussion, but in fact, marijuana busts continue to rise--for simple possession (or such was the case 2 years ago here, and nationally a year ago). Exploding another myth of Santa Cruz hypocrisy (that we're a "tolerant community" around grass).

Tony Madrigal continues to refuse to appoint anyone to a seat on the admittedly toothless but still symbolically important Measure K Commission, which is supposed to see that all marijuana busts are the lowest priority for the city police. Craig Canada, a long-time articulate advocate for medical marijuana, has applied. Contact Madrigal at tmadrigal [at]