By Cheri Sicard and Sam Sabzehzar
After Steve CooleyA’s loss to compassionate candidate Kamala Harris last month in California’s Attorney General race, a sensible person would listen to the will of the voters and reflect a more compassionate stance on those who participate in California’s Compassionate Use Act. Cooley instead has decided to turn up the heat and release the hounds on one of medical marijuana community’s most caring and helpful individuals by remanding Joe Grumbine.
Joe Grumbine has been helping patients and providers in many ways throughout the years, and now he needs yours.
After learning that Cooley was going to remand Mr. Grumbine for supplying medical cannabis in a legal Collective under full compliance of State laws two (2) years ago, the founder of The Human Solution along with his former partner Joe Byron, turned themselves in.
Grumbine and former business partner Byron operated Unit D, a medical marijuana collective in Garden Grove, where they provided medicine to sick patients, paid their taxes, and were in full compliance with California state law and Attorney General Jerry Brown’s collective guidelines.
Nonetheless in December 2009 no less than 120 law enforcement agents stormed four locations in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties in a terrifying SWAT style raid. Seventeen people were arrested. A year later only Grumbine and Byron face actual charges.
Well, the world is a safer place and Californians can sleep tighter tonight as medical marijuana advocate Joe Grumbine is now in jail. A peace loving family man, talented organic gardener and founder of The Human Solution, a nonprofit citizens’ education and advocacy group, Grumbine was handcuffed and taken away Wednesday morning when Judge Arthur Jean imposed an excessive $200K bail.
Another hearing is set for this Friday. Dec.10 at 8:30 in Dept. 3 on the 2nd floor in room 206 with Judge Meyer and supporters are encouraged to show up and bring a friend
Grumbine believes prosecutors sought excessive bail in order to pressure him to take a felony plea bargain. As he has done nothing wrong under California law, he steadfastly maintains the plea bargain is not an option.
“I have worked too long and too hard for too many people who have gone through the legal hell that I am now going through to sell out my principles and admit to a felony I did not commit,” he says. “During the raid, one of the agents actually told my wife that all marijuana users should be put down like animals. This kind of outrageous abuse has to stop and my taking a plea bargain for something I didn’t do will not help that cause,” maintains Grumbine.
Despite medical marijuana being legal in California since the passage of Prop 215 in 1996, and despite the Obama administration’s promise not to prosecute medical marijuana cases, the legal harassment of patients and collectives continue and law abiding citizens like Joe Grumbine get caught in the crossfire.
Twenty or so medical marijuana patients, all wearing The Human Solution’s signature green ribbons and some in wheelchairs, attended the bail hearing. A significantly larger crowd of outraged supporters are expected at Grumbine’s December 10 bail reduction hearing.
Those who support safe access to medical marijuana for patients as well as the members of the media are encouraged to attend. The hearing is set for 8:30 AM on Friday December 10 in Long Beach Superior Court House, 415 W Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach, CA.
While the courtroom was filled to capacity, a sea of supporters all wearing Solidarity Ribbons, overflowed into the hallway outside the courtroom, Joe’s attorney, Chris Glew, and Allison Margolin, attorney for Joe Byron, was incredibly pleased with the amount of court support that showed up for his client and expressed the need for an even larger courtroom presence on Friday.
After bail was set, at a half a million dollars in combined amounts, an outburst from a supporter illuminated the insanity of the excessive fees and was removed from the courtroom by fellow supporters.
As Steve Bee, one supporter, explains “About 5 or 6 officers told everyone they had to clear the walk-way. All the officers continued to tell everyone they couldn’t block the walk-way. One officer told us ‘we can do this the easy way or the hard way’ after someone pointed out that they (the sherifs) were the only ones in the middle of the hall. All of us were along the wall.”
“I have worked too long and too hard for too many people who have gone through the legal hell that I am now going through to sell out my principles and admit to a felony I did not commit,” ~ Joe Grumbine, founder of The Human Solution and Willow Creek Springs
Knowing what damage is done to the patients in the crosshairs of a War on Drugs is one thing, but apparently the Judge today couldn’t even do that. It’s a sad day in America when a defeated agenda still tries to scratch and claw at whatever it can and Steve Cooley is clawing ferociously.
Ironically, there was a campaign to recall Cooley that began this week as more and more elected officials are feeling the pressure from medical patients who feel their elected officials aren’t doing a good job representing them. Even Wyoming has a city that is working out a recall process for their city council members.
Only time will tell how long short-sighted officials who extort money from medical patients and their providers really have left. It’s a dying breed really and when they find themselves near extinction and the last braggart soldier shows compassion, maybe then patients can finally receive the safe access they voted on nearly fifteen years ago.
Until then, Joe remains in jail, and many people like him who get caught up as collateral damage in the war on drugs. Now that the patients are fighting back, it may not be such a one-sided-war. After all, elected officials still have to get re-elected or risk being recalled and if they learned anything about Cannabinomics, they can get much more money out of the movement working with us rather than against us.