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Occupy Medical Marijuana: Long Beach Courthouse to Set Stage Loss of Constitutional Rights

Sam Sabzehzar 2011-11-01 0 comments

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley resorts to unconstitutional measures in his fight against medical marijuana.

By Cynthia Johnston  |  Dispatches From the Field

On Wednesday, November 2 at 8am, a coalition of Medical Marijuana advocates will protest Judge Charles D. Sheldon’s recent decision to deny Joe Grumbine and his former partner Joe Byron an affirmative (medical marijuana) defense against the felony charges they face for operating two legal medical marijuana collectives.

That means the jury who decides their fate will not hear a single word about medical marijuana. Both Joes will be presented as street-level drug pushers.

Defense attorneys for Grumbine and Byron have filed an appeal with the State Appellate Court on the basis that the decision denies them their 14th Amendment right to equal protection under the law — namely the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Prop 215) which allows qualified patients safe access to medical marijuana, and Senate Bill 420 which allows them to obtain it through collectives.

Those laws were also intended to protect people like Grumbine and Byron from prosecution.

Specifically, Prop 215 exempts patients and defined caregivers who possess or cultivate marijuana recommended by a physician from criminal laws which otherwise prohibit possession or cultivation of marijuana.

The 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause requires each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people within its jurisdiction.

Yet in Long Beach, a judge has ruled that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution does not apply to all people within its jurisdiction after all.

It also means the jury will not be allowed to hear all the facts in the case. “A juror can not take back a guilty verdict,” said one of the protesters, citing the recent execution of Troy Davis in Texas.

“Jurors should not have to live with the pain of having returned guilty verdicts based on insufficient or false evidence.”

Outraged citizens have demonstrated at every hearing since this ruling and the numbers keep growing.

Joining the protest will be members of The Human Solution, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), Marijuana Anti- Prohibition Project (MAPP), the Landa Prison Outreach Program (LPOP), 420friendsonline and Long Beach’s Committee of Patients (COP,) as well as many affected patients, caregivers and their families.

Demonstrators will gather outside the Long Beach Courthouse, 415 West Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90802 at 8:00 AM and continue until after the hearing when Mr. Grumbine will make a statement.

Those wishing to join the rallies, participate in court support, or donate to Joe Grumbine and Joe Byron’s legal defense can do so at The Human Solution  or phone 951-436-6312 for additional details.