Parents lose children to willful ignorance of Public Services. In the fight to return their children they are forced to suffer through our court and law enforcements attempts to keep them separated. This situation is a prime example of the “grey” area surrounding a poorly regulated industry.
One bright and sunny day in July of 2008, Sheriffs raided a family home in Lakewood, California thought to be growing marijuana.
Once inside police did find cannabis plants, unfortunately they also found it was a legal grow for a patient, and father, who wishes to remain anonymous, who had been recommended by a physician to use the medicine plant.
Unwilling to arrest the owner or his wife they instead decided to take their kids, the sheriffs acting as judge and jury bypassed the due process and excluded the jury.
Before escorting the kids from their family they decided to provide an object lesson, and proceeded to show the children their father’s ”crime”.
As a dutiful father, he had kept his medical cannabis from his children, but now, thanks to Law Enforcement’s finest, his children were now involved.
The Sheriff’s Department decided not to arrest any adults. Instead they ripped these children from their parents and placed them in a foster home, never giving the father a chance to answer his children’s confused cries.
This seems a lot like a last minute punishment; a “you’re not getting away” type of mentality that in the end can damage and traumatize both parent and child.
The case was then split into two, on one side law enforcement and an attempt at a criminal prosecution.
On the other side was now Child Services and Children’s Court. Strangely, both seemed to be championing the children…who were at that moment all alone, taken forcibly from their home and parents. The case ended up taking multiple twists that practically dissolved this family.
The Department of Children and Family services after taking the children asked the father to appear before them.
The chance to defend himself quickly turned into an interrogation- where Child Services blatantly accused the father of dealing drugs and forced a court-ordered separation between parents and their children.
For three months the Children and Family Services looked over this case, in the end it was dismissed when they could not find evidence to support the claims of Law Enforcement.
Unfortunately this was not the end. Law Enforcement seemed unwilling to provide any detective work on the behalf of the father.
Instead threats and lies were given to the landlord that quickly led to an eviction. The city also seemed to take an interest, seemingly coming to the aid of law enforcement and siteing the landlord on dozens of minor infractions.
After four months and the dismissal at Children’s court the criminal courts decided to also try and separate the father and his children by restraining order.
Quickly coming to his own defense and pointing out the previous court’s decision, the restraining order was minimized allowing him contact with his children.
This trend of willful ignorance of the law on the part of our public services is getting to the point where honest families under California Law are being persecuted.
This father survived to tell his tale, a fate not many share. This father saw the petty rules and infringements used against him; he bore witness to the scare tactics and manipulation of the system.
The father insists “This has been a huge waste of time and money for me and the system.” He goes on to say that “from here on out we need to educate everyone in the good use of the medication and how it can help patients. We need to remove the Law Enforcement cloud and negative stigma from this plant.”
Elaborating further, the father comes up with a series of ideas that may just arm law enforcement with better knowledge of the tools they have to fight their war on drugs so that innocent patients don’t get shot in the crossfire of their war.
“First we need to educate law enforcement in the difference between legal and illegal cannabis. Second we need to ensure a way that patients and caregivers can feel safe and secure from the officers sworn duty to uphold the law. There has to be a bulletproof way to grow and use cannabis safely. I never want to see kids taken from their families unnecessarily again. It’s just plain and simple torture to any family.”
One year later, the prosecution seemed to want to release law enforcement of their responsibility in this case and has asked the father to accept time-served for the day he had been in custody. The father, not looking for monetary compensation, instead seeking departmental education, and vindication of his constitutional rights, will wait for dismissal by prosecution, or for his case to go to trial.
The Father is currently writing a biography of events leading up to and following the taking of his children. He is a philanthropist, community leader, President of the ABC School District Policy committee, former vise-president to By-Laws committee and former delegate to L.A. County Office of Education, and an experienced entrepreneur. He is currently looking for community support and for interested parties to join him in moving the industry forward.