September 19, 2011 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Joe Grumbine, 951-436-6312; www.the-human-solution.org
Wasteful Long Beach Medical Marijuana Trial Plods On
LONG BEACH, CA – Hundreds of medical marijuana advocates and activists from throughout Southern California rallied outside Long Beach Superior Courthouse on September 15th, protesting the city’s wasting millions of tax payer dollars investigating, raiding, and prosecuting legal medical marijuana collectives while vital public services are being cut. One week later, on Sept. 22 they’ll be back to do it again as the trial for Joe Grumbine and Joe Byron, the former operators of two legal medical cannabis collectives in Long Beach and Garden Grove, plods on.
Discovery hearings and jury instructions continue that day, postponed from a week earlier due to the prosecution’s delivery evidence to defense attorneys at the last minute. The city claims Grumbine and Byron’s collectives were operating outside of the law, yet ironically a Riverside County judge found Grumbine in complete compliance with California’s medical marijuana laws just 5 weeks before the city of Long Beach sent 120 armed SWAT officers, drug sniffing dogs, and helicopters to raid 17 locations. The December 2009 raid started the men on an entire new prosecution ordeal that’s now been dragging on nearly 2 years.
Citizens have presented the Long Beach City Council with numerous FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests on the exact amount spent on what they consider to be a frivolous and unnecessary investigation and prosecution at a time when the cutting is cutting services and California has been ordered to reduce its prison population due to overcrowding. The requests have gone ignored and no actual figures have come from the city, but activists estimate the amount to be upwards of 5 million dollars.
“I recently attended a town hall meeting with Long Beach council woman Rae Gabelich where citizens were complaining about their local police station annex being understaffed,” says Long Beach resident Madeleine Johnson. “Yet the city found it wise to send helicopters, dogs, and 120 SWAT officers after a man who had already been found to be following the law? It just doesn’t make any sense.”
Johnson was one of about 140 concerned citizens who filled the courtroom and hallways of Long Beach Superior Court and the street in front of the courthouse during Byron and Grumbine’s September 15th pre-trial hearing. Supporters came for the rally from as far south as San Diego and as far north as Kern County.
“People all over the state are fed up with law enforcement and our elected officials ignoring the medical marijuana laws meant to protect patients and wasting enormous tax dollars in the process,” says Grumbine.
Local chapters of numerous organizations including The Human Solution (a non profit organization founded by Grumbine), Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Marijuana Anti Prohibition Project (MAPP), the Landa Prison Outreach Program (LPOP), and Long Beach’s Committee of Patients (COP) are planning on being there gain next Thursday and for Grumbine and Byron’s entire trial, tentatively starting in late November and expected to last approximately 3 weeks.
Those wishing to join the rallies, participate in court support, or donate to Joe Grumbine and Joe Byron’s legal defense funds can do so at The Human Solution’s website (www.the-human-solution.org) or phone 951-436-6312 for additional details.