Forfeiting Freedom 

Forfeiting Freedom 
Posted by CN Staff on February 07, 2005 at 12:05:59 PT
Source: Orange County Register
For a brief period it looked as if federal authorities were going to leave sick people who use marijuana medicinally alone for a while, at least until Raich v. Ashcroft, the medical marijuana case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, is decided. But it looks as if they're back.Last week the federal government filed to take by forfeiture the home of Wesley Crosiar, 52, a medical marijuana patient who was growing 134 plants for himself and six other patients on his five acres of land near San Andreas in Calaveras County, in the eastern Sierras southeast of Sacramento.
Civil forfeiture, sometimes called seizure, is a process whereby authorities can seize property that is alleged to have been used in the commission of a crime or represents the proceeds of criminal activity. It has often been misused, because property can be seized when the person who owns it has not yet been convicted of or even formally charged with a crime.The theory is that the property participated in the alleged crime, but since this is a civil rather than a criminal procedure there's no presumption of innocence and the burden of proof on the state is light. After decades of abuse both federal and state forfeiture laws have been tightened slightly in recent years, but they are still too permissive. Themajor flaw is that the police agency seizing the property gets to keep it or the proceeds of selling it, which creates a huge conflict of interest and an incentive to get "seizure fever."Snipped:Complete Article: Orange County Register, The (CA)Published: Monday, February 7, 2005 Copyright: 2005 The Orange County RegisterContact: letters ocregister.comWebsite: Raich v. Ashcroft News Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on February 12, 2005 at 08:23:06 PT
Related Article from The Stockton Record
Lode Family Faces Seizure in Pot CaseBy Francis P. Garland, Lode Bureau ChiefPublished Saturday, February 12, 2005 SAN ANDREAS -- Three members of a San Andreas family who had doctors' recommendations to grow marijuana for medical reasons are facing criminal cultivation and possession charges, and could lose their property in a federal seizure. A criminal complaint filed last week in Calaveras County Superior Court charges Wesley Robert Crosiar Sr., 52; Wesley Rudolf Crosiar Jr., 30; and David Christopher Crosiar, 21, with cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and attempting to transport, sell or give away marijuana. The charges stem from a September search of the Crosiars' Hawver Road property that netted approximately 138 marijuana plants found growing in five different sites. All three of the Crosiars had doctors' recommendations to use marijuana for medical reasons, which is legal under Proposition 215. But county law enforcement officials say criminal charges were filed because the size of the growing operation exceeded the county's medical marijuana guidelines. "They were growing more than they were allowed to," said Dana Owens, a deputy district attorney prosecuting the case. Undersheriff Michael Walker said that based on the size of the Crosiars' operation, his office believed the family was involved in a commercial growing operation. Walker said agents estimated the marijuana found at the Hawver Road site had a street value of nearly $557,000. He also said that based on the quantity and quality of marijuana and the Crosiars' reported usage, it would have taken them more than 11 years to smoke all the marijuana found at the site. In addition to facing prosecution, the Crosiars could lose their property to the federal government, which can seize property that it believes is used for illegal activity or was purchased with proceeds derived from illegal activity. David Michael, an attorney representing the Crosiars in the federal asset forfeiture case, would not comment because the matter is pending. The Crosiars, who were not arrested but were ordered to appear in court March 8 for arraignment on the cultivation and possession charges, could not be reached for comment. Medical marijuana advocates expressed anger at both the county's prosecution and the federal government's efforts to seize the Crosiars' property. "To take a family's home for growing marijuana is communist, as far as I can tell," said Dale Gieringer, coordinator for California NORML, a nonprofit group working to reform the state's marijuana laws. "This is something you'd see in Castro's Cuba. It's a political crime." Angels Camp resident David Jack, a medical marijuana user active in helping the county establish its guidelines several years ago, said this is the first time he's heard of a medical marijuana patient being subject to federal asset forfeiture. Jack criticized Sheriff Dennis Downum's office for informing federal officials about the case. "This is a violation of public health codes for him to go against (Proposition 215) and it's also against the California Constitution," Jack said. Downum defended his office's role in the case, saying that after most marijuana raids, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration is contacted to see if the case fits the criteria for asset forfeiture. "If they're interested, we file the paperwork and they take it from there," he said. The county's medical marijuana guidelines say that a patient with a doctor's recommendation can have six plants and up to two pounds of processed marijuana on hand. State guidelines allow six mature plants or 12 immature plants and no more than eight ounces of processed marijuana unless a doctor has authorized more. Medical marijuana also has become an issue in San Joaquin County in recent years, most notably with the arrest and prosecution of Aaron Paradiso, a quadriplegic who was charged with cultivating and possession with the intent to sell after authorities seized 52 plants from his Stockton home. Paradiso is awaiting trial. His next court date is scheduled for May 25. Jeffrey Tuttle, Calaveras County's district attorney, said his office must make a judgment call on every marijuana growing case that has an element of Proposition 215 involved. "In this case, the quantity was such that it was difficult to believe they were growing it for medical reasons," Tuttle said of the Crosiar case. "We don't want to prosecute someone with cancer who's smoking pot. But on the other hand, we can't let people use it as a ruse, either." Copyright: 2005 The Record
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on February 07, 2005 at 19:55:48 PT
We only listened to Tommy Chong's interview. I'll have to listen to the other one. I've been dowloading files so I got sidetracked. This whole issue is way out of hand. He can't even enjoy any cannabis for fear of failing a drug test. He is over 60 years old! When does an adult get to decide their own life. It really is upsetting.
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Comment #5 posted by telarus on February 07, 2005 at 19:17:15 PT:
Hey, I just listened to that interview from NPR, and the follow-up interview with the prosecutor that put him in jail for 9 mo. I'm uber impressed with how healthy he sounded, until he described his "jail"....."it was like a camp. Y'know, it had a white chalk line surrounding it that we weren't allowed to cross, but no armed guards or anything......mostly white collar criminals, and pot growers, they like arresting pot growers because then they have someone to tend the gardens........yah, lots of religious stuff going around, like the Catholics, but I kinda got into the Indian Religion, I mean American Indian, so every Saturday we had a sweat in the sweatlodge...."all I can say is *silently raises closed fist*
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on February 07, 2005 at 19:14:20 PT
News Brief from The Associated Press
Lawmakers Propose Allowing Medical Use of MarijuanaFebruary 7, 2005Santa Fe -- Marijuana could be used legally for medical purposes by people with debilitating illnesses under a proposal in the Legislature.Senators Cisco McSorley and Gerald Ortiz y Pino, both from Albuquerque, are sponsoring legislation to legalize the drug.The measure would cover patients seriously ill with cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV or AIDS and certain spinal cord injuries.Under the legislation, a doctor would have to certify that someone suffers from a qualifying illness and the patient would register with the state Health Department to obtain the marijuana.Among those supporting the measure is a 23-year-old from Albuquerque who was diagnosed with cancer six years ago. Erin Armstrong says she wants the option of using marijuana to ease her chronic nausea. For now she takes a prescription drug to control the sickness but it costs more than three-thousand dollars a month.Eleven states allow the use of marijuana as medicine, including Colorado.Copyright 2005 Associated Press
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on February 07, 2005 at 13:51:29 PT
You're right, Mayan
I don't expect any good to come out of Gonzales. He's obviously another stinging serpent head to spring up where another one, Ashcroft, fell off. I just don't see how rational people could have confirmed him.He'll likely "serve his master"...and I don't think that would be the "God of Love" any means.
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on February 07, 2005 at 13:31:33 PT
Newly confirmed U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should call them off.Gonzales call the feds off??? And the pope might start dating crack whores! Gonzales is scum...GONZALES ADDED TO WAR CRIMES COMPLAINT IN GERMANY; NEW EVIDENCE SHOWS FAY REPORT ON ABU GHRAIB PROTECTED OFFICIALS: "Martin"???THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...9/11: Holes in the Radar: Chiefs Quash Revealing Report Pointing Fingers For 9/11 - Detailed CIA report is ordered to be kept secret for fear that ‘prying eyes’ may uncover truth:
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 07, 2005 at 12:25:50 PT
Tommy Chong's NPR Radio Interview
Tommy Chong: Free, and Back on the Road By Terry Gross 
 Fresh Air from WHYY, February 7, 2005 Comedian Tommy Chong. As one half of the comedy duo Cheech and Chong, Tommy Chong made a career out of making jokes about being stoned. Along with Cheech Marin, Chong recorded six gold comedy albums and starred in seven films. He currently has a recurring role on FOX TV's That '70s Show. The role comes after Chong spent nine months in prison; he pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell drug paraphernalia. Chong's arrest was part of the U.S. Justice Department's Operation Pipe Dreams investigation of Internet distribution of drug paraphernalia like bongs and marijuana pipes. Chong says he pleaded guilty to protect his son, whose company was targeted. Chong is now on his first tour since leaving prison, performing in the play The Marijuana-Logues. An upcoming reunion will take place between Chong and his long-time partner Cheech Martin.
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