The Coastal Post - February, 1998

Medical Marijuana:

The Federal Storm Has Arrived

By Lynnette Shaw

The federal government (i.e., the United States of America, aka We, the People) has filed federal civil lawsuits against six prominent Bay Area Cannabis clubs, the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (Cannabis Buyers' Club, Marin) and myself being one of the lucky recipients. Yes, folks, I have been declared Public Nuisance #1 by President Clinton himself. After eight years and a federal lawsuit later, I can proudly say that I have bothered the government in a big way.

What does this all mean? For one thing, a Lungren-style scorched-earth cannabis club raid is political suicide. Busting the Marin Alliance offices and carting off patients with full worldwide TV news coverage would enrage voters, an election year faux pas. So the big boys are trying to soft-peddle this draconian movie with a juryless judicial decision (not to forget that criminal charges are waiting in the chute, once the tidy little injunction is signed). These D.C. guys have no idea what has transpired here in California-federal judges who have denounced the drug war, for example; thousands of patients whose lives, senses, and survival are at stake; millions of Californians who voted with their hearts and mandated marijuana as medicine for their loved ones.

So the feds are pulling in to stop us all, now. No one is safe until we win. Unlike mean-hearted AG Dan Lungren, the boys are attempting to appear civilized-no flashy busts, but still tough on drug crime. Shutting down our club would force hundreds of critically-ill people to be in danger from the streets, seeking out their medical marijuana from the hard drug dealers, along with the threat of being arrested. What a mistake, Clinton! It's all going to backfire, and allow us the world forum and public sympathy we deserve.

And the good news is-we are still open! CBC Marin forever!

We are serving those who cannot possibly grow their own, the sickest of the sick using the defense of medical necessity. We have cooperated with the town of Fairfax, have worked very closely with the chief of police, have complied with 85 conditions, are subject to pop inspections, frequent auditing, and reviews every six months. The town, the chief and the club has devised, in the name of mercy, a system that should be used as a model. So rather than respect all that hard work and tight regulations, they hit us with a federal civil action. They are asking the judge to shut us down, to let my lambs suffer needlessly, in the name of politics, ignorance, and big salaries. Will they accuse the chief and the town of conspiracy, too?

The federal government says that marijuana is not medicine, that no one will be allowed to use marijuana, and Proposition 215 is not legal. They say that I am guilty of criminal actions, because marijuana is a dangerous, detrimental drug with no medical value. I've been accused of maintaining a criminal business and of criminal conspiracy to distribute a dangerous drug. The feds are attempting to quash the movement and repeal social progress. This means everyone, not just the clubs-we're just the first challenge.

If these were criminal charges (which they are not, yet), I would be looking at 15 to 20 years mandatory minimum because of my prior marijuana conviction. That is, unless I give up some names and information to them. In other words, everybody who was nice to us can breathe easy, but anyone guilty of crimes against the club or myself had better sweat, or so the Feds hope.

Fat chance, federal fatheads-you are biting off more than you can chew. I'm not here to roll on some rotten jerks who did us wrong. I'm here to stand up for my people and kick butt! The time for change has arrived, and we are the ones to do it.

After all, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently petitioned Health and Human Services to investigate the rescheduling of marijuana from Schedule I (category for drugs that are dangerous, highly addictive, potentially fatal, and of no medical use). So the monolith has moved after 27 years. They wait on enforcement until the scientific research is in.

Now that the glove has been thrown (a dueling tradition, to signal the start of the standoff from which only one will survive), we are prepared to do what we have always done-tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help us God.

The feds want to stop the medical marijuana movement on the backs of our sick and dying. Citizens, speak out and just say no to cruelty and stagnant government. The voters of California have provided a special medical benefit that is a state's right to do. The big boys cannot accept that a bunch of sick people, women, and gays have stood up for themselves and their medical rights, out of love and pain, and convinced the general public of their sincerity and true need.

So what can someone do to help us? Immediately write a letter of support for our movement, our work, and our club. Break out your checkbook and write one to the Marin Alliance Legal Defense Fund. Mail to the Marin Alliance at 6 School Street Plaza, Suite 215, Fairfax 94930, asap.

Then plan to join us at the Federal Building at 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, on Friday, February 20th, for a 10 a.m. demonstration outside in the Plaza, then sit with us in court at 10:30 a.m. Four of the six clubs are in court that day at the same time-Marin Alliance (CBC Marin), Cannabis Cultivators' Club (Dennis Peron), Oakland CBC, and Flower Therapy. Ukiah CBC is February 23, Santa Cruz CBC is March 2. Write letters to your representatives, the Vice-President, and President Clinton. Please light a candle and pray for us.

In the meantime, the Town of Fairfax has continued to support our business permit, and we are still open our regular hours and days. The raid scare is now over, but we never stopped providing medical marijuana to our members. We even got a price break from sympathetic growers, who are betting on a winner. We are going to prevail, and the Club will stay open in the name of compassion. Thanks to everyone for supporting us throughout this dark period in American history.

I'm currently writing a book that, hopefully, will not be finished in jail. Publishers are interested in my story of the struggle, a work-in-progress. I am counting on a happy ending from the hearts of Marin County jurors, where this may end up, whom I trust would never condemn me to 20 years for providing marijuana as medicine to sick people in this time of crisis. Everyone has a patient in their family that they love and can relate to how much we care for our members.

As the Beatles once said, "Love is all you need." That, and a good legal defense team. We certainly hope that our future will take the better turn, for love and compassion.

Our battle cry is found in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King: "We shall overcome." Our path is the way of Gandhi, civil disobedience. Peace.

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