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Medical Marijuana Patient on Hunger Strike While War on Drugs Hits Medical Community

Sam Sabzehzar 2011-08-27 6 comments

Jerry Laberdee, 56, is a Vietnam War Veteran who was sent to war when he got caught with pot. Today Jerry sits in jail for the same crime, and is on a hunger strike and while he awaits his Federal charges. This time, however, he was a qualified medical cannabis patient in a Compassionate Use State, but because it is a Federal indictment, and not through the state of Washington, he will most likely be unable to provide a medical defense.  Jerry’s daughter, Jessica, has sent us this letter.

By Jessica Vogel  |  August 27, 2011

Jerry Laberdee, left, is currently on a hunger strike while he remains in jail for growing his medical cannabis and his family is being harassed with further raids and intimidation. (Photo credit:

The U.S. government has abducted my father!

My dad is Jerry Laberdee, he is not a name, or a cause, or a casualty of this “War on Drugs.”

He is the man who raised me and my five sisters, even though he was barely 20 years old when my oldest sister was born, he stuck around and did the best he could do.

When I was a child my dad approached me and said, with all the sincerity in the world, “You have what it takes to do anything you want to in life. Anything in the world is yours if you want it.”

Constantly he would remind me of this inner strength that he had, and he saw I had it too.

“But you have to be willing to work really hard for it.”

He continued on to say “If you want to go to Harvard, you can. That’s the beauty of America; you don’t have to be poor just because you grew up poor”

Now those words dangle from the tip of my mind, each letter being pushed off one at a time like a train de-railing: “T-h-a-t-I-s-T-h-e-B-e-a-u-t-y-o-f -A-m-e-r-i-c-a”

Don’t get me wrong, my dad always taught me to question authority.

He said that a good government wants you to question what they are doing.

“Only bad governments discourage questions.”

I learned from him, and am learning it now each day as he sits in jail unable to eat, that if we are too afraid to question authority then we are a disgrace to the men who founded this country and the women and men who fought, who continue to fight, to defend that right.

They fought and died for their children, and their children’s children, to live in a land free from tyranny.

We are those children!

We have to continue to make a stance against the unjust.

Not just for my dad, but for all Americans.

My father was one who defended the very rights he’s been stripped of today.  His punishment for smoking a joint was to be sent to Vietnam, and as he continues to struggle with PTSD, among other ailments, the only form of medicine that works is the same thing that got my father sent over there in the first place.

He is too old to fight, so now they would rather throw him in jail.  And they have.

The media has fed our minds for so long to believe that people who question authority are cynical, hippies or just plain paranoid. What a sad state of affairs, when people who stand up for the Constitution of the United States are viewed as cynics or extremists.

Something everybody needs to know is that U.S. Federal Code Title 21 Sec. 812 Paragraph B states that in order for something to be a Schedule I Drug it must have “no current medical value.”

Therefore marijuana should not be listed as a schedule I drug.

The Federal Government provides marijuana to some patients, and therefore they clearly acknowledge that it does have current medical value. This means that due process has not been achieved, and the 5th amendment says that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

Our ancestors would be ashamed to see this.

My dad is in jail on a hunger strike because he is being deprived of his life, liberty and property without due process of law.

There will be a rally on August 29th at 10:00 A.M. at the Federal Building in Spokane, Washington. It is my hope that people will come from all over the country to support the man who is supporting our civil rights while this process unfold.

Thank you,
Jessica Vogel


  1. Robert Chamberlin

    When the US Patent Office issued Patent #6,630,507 in 2003, to an agency of the US Federal Government (NIH), the DEA should have immediately moved Cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3. I have not heard the argument relating to how shrinking cancer tumors is NOT a medicinal property of Marijuana, as stated in the patent.

  2. Robert Chamberlin

    When the US Patent Office issued Patent #6,630,507 in 2003, to an agency of the US Federal Government (NIH), the DEA should have immediately moved Cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3. I have not heard the argument relating to how shrinking cancer tumors is NOT a medicinal property of Marijuana, as stated in the patent.

  3. Michael Dussault-Jensen

    Hello Jessica, being diagnosed with PTSD is a harsh thing to deal with to begin with as I am sure you know having watched your father over time. I was diagnosed with PTSD many yrs ago myself and I can honestly say I understand the issue of not having the correct medications and what that does to a man. I would like to try to assist you but before I can do that I would really like to speak via email. I am a cannabis researcher and I also run an advocacy group for cannabis patients and have done this for many years. I along with several other advocates would like to help you and your father if at all possible. Please email me I am very easy to find on line. Peace, and prayers,
    Michael Dussault-Jensen

  4. Julie Ross

    Jessica… you know we all send our support from where we are right now, since we can’t get there in person for the rally. We WILL be sending those letters to get your Dad freed, as he should be, for being in a LEGAL business when he was nabbed! My heart is breaking after reading this article… & I’m sickened that our government can’t refocus their energies into finding & imprisoning the people involved with cocaine, heroin, meth, etc… it’s those drugs that people take that cause an increase in crime & a more distorted view of reality, NOT MARIJUANA!!! Maybe one of these days the feds will wake up & realize where they REALLY went wrong… our thoughts & prayers go out to you & your Dad… Best of luck with the rally & the hearing!!!

  5. Andrew Zebrun III

    This is heartbreaking! Our country is committing the biggest human rights violation on Earth, the “drug war”. We wouldn’t let other countries treat their citizens like this! Too bad the average American believes the governments lies! They can’t even control prescription medicine!

  6. K. Greg

    Jessica, sad to see your Dad suffering AND being persecuted by the Feds, he can’t demand his rights to free speech in a Federal court, not what we fought and died for! As a US Navy Vietnam vet with PTSD, I am of the opinion that any of us that want to use cannabis in our treatment should be allowed. We were already unjustly treated by having to serve in Vietnam to kill innocents for greedy warmongers. Since Nixon and Congress’ CSA in ’73, we have been the victims of his illegal War against Americans and just like Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq they do not want to admit they acted badly and made a mistake. All it would take for your Father and so many others to be free would be for Congress or maybe even by a Presidential order to end the CSA and we would all be freer to act as our own adults instead of subjects of the single minded and wealthy that control us now! Good luck to your Dad and hope that he prevails against these cretins.