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Yes, we're at war ... against sick Americans

By Vin Suprynowicz
web posted October 15, 2001

As "we watch a war unfold on the television -- a 'good' war to protect us from terrorists ... it raises some questions," writes L.J. Carden of Meadow Vista, Calif., in an October 10 letter to the editor of California's daily Auburn Journal.

"Why then are precious resources -- specially trained, heavily armed and already on the federal payroll 'home security types' -- attacking a licensed medical physician and her attorney husband in rural El Dorado County?" asked Carden, whose letter was headlined: "Good war vs. pot raid."

"Shouldn't their goal be to protect us from really dangerous people?"

Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents on September 28 seized files that contain legal and medical records of more than 5,000 medicinal marijuana patients in El Dorado County when they raided the home and office of Dr. Mollie Fry, a physician, and her husband, Dale Schafer, a lawyer who earlier had announced he will run for El Dorado County district attorney. Fry and Schafer run the California Medical Research Center in Cool, Calif. The patient files remain sealed pending an Oct. 22 court hearing.

"In any law book you look up to answer this problem it's going to say it's illegal in the margins," J. David Nick, a San Francisco attorney hired by CMRC, told the Tahoe Daily Tribune. "These type of records are confidential in the eyes of the law. It falls under attorney-client privilege. It's a huge invasion of personal privacy that chills one to the bone."

Police and prosecutors respond that the doctor-patient privilege is voided when there's fraud, and they're investigating doctors who they believe are writing recommendations for marijuana when it's not medically justified -- as though police bully-boys are in any position to second-guess doctors on their medical recommendations, and as though these same goons would ever admit there are any legitimate medical uses of marijuana.

Fry is herself a breast cancer survivor who is a medical marijuana patient. Cancer has recently reappeared in her blood, according to Jaimie Daniel, an employee of CMRC. In the September 28 raid, the federal government confiscated 32 marijuana plants Fry kept for personal use.

"The two-year-old clinic in the town of Cool charges $200 to determine if people can use marijuana for medical conditions from cancer to chronic pain," The AP reports. "If they qualify under 1996's Proposition 215, which bars criminal prosecution for using marijuana for medical conditions, they are referred to cannabis 'clubs' elsewhere for marijuana."

A federal magistrate will hear arguments Oct. 22 to decide if the records of the more than 5,000 northern California prospective medical marijuana users can be viewed by federal authorities. Chief Magistrate Gregory Hollows set the hearing Oct. 4 in a courtroom packed with medical marijuana users, several in wheelchairs, according to The Associated Press.

Since its passage, Prop. 215 has been tested in several court cases, including the Placer County trial of Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Steve Kubby. Kubby was acquitted last February on marijuana possession-for-sale charges after a 1998 raid netted 256 plants at his Olympic Valley home -- but has fled to Canada after being threatened with jail for refusing to pay $4,500 in court costs and fines arising from a related misdemeanor conviction for possession of a mushroom stem and a dried cactus button.

An adrenal cancer survivor who attributes his survival to his use of medical marijuana, Steve Kubby says he would be deprived of the medicinal herb and would die, thus losing his ability to support and protect his family, if he allowed himself to be jailed.

Attorney Schafer and Dr. Fry weren't arrested during the September 28 searches and remain free, with no charges filed against them.

"This is a big, big story," Steve Kubby told me October 11. "I can't think of another instance where police go into a doctor's office and an attorney's office and just take all their files. It's unprecedented and it's outrageous. ... It's a very important story because if the doctor-patient and attorney-client privilege is breached, then we have no more rights in this country, none. If you can't speak to your most trusted advisers without the police being able to see what was said, then the Constitution is gone, the Bill of Rights is gone, and we've just witnessed a slow-motion police coup d'etat."

What's going on here is perfectly clear. We were all taught in our high-school civics classes that if you want to change the law, all you have to do is get a majority of voters to agree with you -- which is exactly what backers of California's humane Proposition 215 did.

But these California prosecutors and so-called "police" now reveal they don't believe in -- or honor -- that system at all. Where are the ACLU and the federal civil rights authorities, as these goons now reveal themselves to be an armed gang thoroughly undeserving of any claims to being in the "law enforcement" business, instead harassing and ruining the lives of sick people, little different in their tactics from their brethren in the deep South 40 years ago, breaking heads and turning the firehoses on "uppity Negroes" who claimed to have some kind of a "right" to sit at white lunch counters?

Represented by a team of attorneys from the respected California law firm of Halpern and Halpern, Steve Kubby filed suit against Placer County in Placer County Superior Court on June 18, seeking $250 million in damages and compensation. Mr. Kubby's lawsuit charges Placer officials violated the Americans With Disabilities Act, committed assault, battery, trespass and false imprisonment, deliberately inflicted emotional distress, and violated the medical marijuana law that Kubby helped pass in 1996. Here's hoping every one of these rabid, life-hating zealots is convicted, personally bankrupted, and given a lengthy sojourn in the gray-bar hotel.

Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. To receive his longer, better stuff, subscribe to his monthly newsletter by sending $72 to Privacy Alert, 561 Keystone Ave., Suite 684, Reno, NV 89503 -- or dialing 775-348-8591.

Buy After Prohibition: An Adult Approach to Drug Policies in the 21st Century, published by the Cato Institute for only $15.16 in hardcover or $8.95 in paperback

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