Cannabis Club Pot-Growing Trial Begins

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Mar 14, 2001.

  1. By Pamela J. Podger, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Source: San Francisco Chronicle

    The state's first jury trial on suppliers to cannabis clubs got under way yesterday, pitting Sonoma County's vigorous prosecution of pot growers against the more tolerant views in San Francisco.
    While San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan openly supports medical marijuana clubs, Sonoma County District Attorney Mike Mullins said he doesn't want his county to be transformed into a pot garden for the Bay Area.

    "If San Francisco wants to have a marijuana supplier, they can grow it in Golden Gate Park," Mullins said yesterday. Cannabis clubs, he said, are illegal.

    The trial that started yesterday focuses on two Petaluma growers, who are being tried for providing cannabis for a San Francisco club for users of medical marijuana. In opening arguments, prosecutors argued that the motive was greed. The defense insisted it was providing lawful compassionate use.

    Hallinan, who is on the witness list for the defense, sent an observer from his office to monitor yesterday's court action.

    Cannabis clubs sprang up in several California cities after the 1996 passage of Proposition 215, which permits cultivation and consumption of the weed for chronically ill people who have a doctor's recommendation. Proponents say cannabis helps alleviate the effects of chemotherapy, promotes appetite in cancer and AIDS patients and helps relieve pain.

    Defendants Kenneth E. Hayes and Michael S. Foley grew 899 marijuana plants, some in six greenhouses and others inside a barn on a rural King Road farm. Fifteen pounds of dried weed, one pound of hash, $3,700 in cash and a rifle also were found on the property.

    Hayes was the executive director of the 1,280-member club CHAMP -- Cannabis Helping Alleviate Medical Problems, described as a cross between "a living room and a cabaret" -- located in the Castro district. Foley was the club's general manager. Both men face felony charges for unlawful cultivation and possession of concentrated cannabis for the purpose of sale.

    There is also an enhancement for the rifle, which an Oakland defense lawyer said was used to protect Hayes' chickens from raccoons.

    Surrounded by burlap bags containing confiscated weed, Sonoma County prosecutor Carla Claeys began her remarks by saying the two defendants met and hatched a plan to run a sophisticated $500,000 operation.

    "This is a case of profit. It was not done for compassionate use or from the kindness of their hearts," Claeys said. "It was about money.

    "This is not a case about cannabis clubs in San Francisco or politics in San Francisco or whether marijuana should be used for compassionate purposes. It was a sales game. It wasn't for compassion. It was for greed."

    In testimony yesterday, Sonoma County Sheriff's Deputy Steven Gossett said that when he served the search warrant in the morning of May 14, 1999, the rented house reeked of marijuana smoke.

    Mullins said his office interprets the state law as allowing an approved patient to grow cannabis for personal use -- or if a person is unable to do so, an approved caregiver may instead.

    In other words, one-on-one situations are allowed, Mullins said, not extensive sales operations.

    Defense lawyer William G. Panzer, who co-wrote Proposition 215, said Hayes was a designated "caregiver," who gave the cannabis "essentially free of charge" to ill people. He said Hayes' San Francisco club provided a gathering spot for his members, where social interaction, massages, dinners and doctors consultations were available.

    Hayes, he said, operated with the full knowledge of the San Francisco Police Department and Hallinan's office. He also said CHAMP was honored by Mayor Willie Brown and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

    "Mr. Hayes was essentially doing God's work," Panzer said. "He grew this for compassionate use."

    During a break outside the Santa Rosa courtroom, Panzer said Mullins' stance is counterproductive because it forces medical users to resort to black market suppliers.

    "I see Mike Mullins as Captain Ahab going after the great white whale of medical marijuana," Panzer said. "He honestly believes there is no medical benefit. He doesn't want reasonable regulation and is giving business to drug dealers."

    Mullins said he knows of no research that supports the medical benefits of marijuana. He said if anyone is driving ill people into the arms of drug dealers, it is the initiative drafters.

    "Right now, there are 58 different ways of interpreting this because there is no uniformity," Mullins said. "They drafted a hopelessly ineffective initiative that fails to provide a means to distribute this particular product. "

    E-mail Pamela J. Podger at: ppodger@sfchronicle.com

    Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
    Author: Pamela J. Podger, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2001
    Copyright: 2001 San Francisco Chronicle Page A - 13
    Address: 901 Mission St., San Francisco CA 94103
    Contact: letters@sfchronicle.com
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    Related Articles & Web Site:

    C.H.A.M.P. http://www.champsf.org/
     
  2. The Cannabis Clubs Are Not Doing Anything Ileagal. They Are Nonprofit Therefore The Dispenseries Are Not Breaking The Law. California Just Need To Totally Leagalize It. IF THIS HAPPENED ORDINARRY PEOPLE WOULD NOT BECOME CRIMINALS AND WE WOULD NOT HAVE DRUG DEALERS. FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCES THE STREET SALE OF MARIJUANA HAS GONE DOWN MORE THAN 50% SINCE PROP 215. THE REAL CRIMINALS ARE THE TWEAKERS AND CRACK HEADS. THE DRUGS THAT THESE PEOPLE DO CAN KILL THEREFORE THEY ARE THE CRIMINALS THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE SPENDING THERE TIME CATCHING NOT MAKING CRIMINALS OUT OF NORMAL UPSTANDING PEOPLE. The Only Thing That The Federal Laws States It That It Can Not Be Sold For Profit. AND PEOPLE WHO SELL TO THE CLUBS IF THEY CAN PROVE THAT THE INCOME FROM THE SALE OF THERE CANNABIS WAS ONLY ENOUGH TO PAY FOR THE MATTERIALS TO GROW AND TIME SPENT ON MAINTAINING THEN THEY SHOULD HAVE NO WORRIES. THERE IS REASERCH THAT STATES THE BENNEFITS OF MEDICAL MARIJAUNA. UC DAVIS MEDICAL CENTER HAS BEEN DOING STUDDIES ON THIS AND HAS FOUND CANCER REDUCING EFFECTS. MULLINS IS FULL OF HIM SELF AND IS A COMMUNIST. hE IS PROBABLY THE SUPPLIER FOR BAD DRUGS IN SONOMA COUNTY.
     

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