Wasteful Long Beach Medical Marijuana Trial Plods On

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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.

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Part 2 the hearing

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September 15 Freedom Rally for True Justice, Part 2 the hearing

I walked through the doors with my belt, wallet, and phone in hand and went through the security without issue. I entered the elevator with a bit of hesitation as always, remembering that one time that I didn’t come back. That memory is permanently burned into my brain and every time I head upstairs, my fight or flight instinct goes on alert. I entered the 5th floor and saw a bunch of supporters already there. No lawyers had arrived yet. I spoke with Joe to confirm and he did. Chris Glew called shortly after to verify that the court was not open yet and told me that he had gotten a speeding ticket and would be there shortly. Allison was not going to be there bunt a substitute would also be there shortly. A bailiff came out of the courtroom and said that it was reported that one of us was taking pictures in the hall and everyone needed to show him their cel so he could check for pictures. None were found and we were allowed to enter.

Both sides of court were opened except the first 2 rows on the left side as per the court’s agreement with Cynthia Johnston. This was another demonstration of our thinking on our feet and affecting change. There were 6 bailiffs in the courtroom this time as contrasted with the usual 1 or 2. Heads were peering in from the back of the judge’s chambers including that of Judge Judith Meyers that had both signed the warrant and had issued the declaration in open court regarding the possible harm I had brought to the good patients of California. Of course she was also the one that imposed the 6 figure bail that caused us to drain the resources of some dear friends to keep me out of the twin towers. Prior to court being called to order, the house bailiff admonished us to keep quiet and not use cel phones. The usual. I was quickly ejected as I reached to hand a book to a spectator. I thought it kind of funny to be kicked out of court for the first time in my own case. (I’ve sat in close to 100 sessions both mine and in support of others) The attorneys both finally arrived and I was called back.

The prosecutor had filed several motions including one to suppress the AG guidelines, one to prohibit supporters from “influencing” the jury IE: wearing a ribbon or even attending the gallery in support. The judge had no problem with our presence in the courtroom or the ribbon at this time. He didn’t seem to be inclined to allow the AG guidelines to be presented. But nothing was in stone at this time. The real kicker was the motion to suppress our medical defense at all! The “state’s” position is simply that sales of marijuana are illegal. They don’t care about reasonable compensation, the state card, Ag guidelines or any of that nonsense. Again no ruling was made yet on this.

It turns out that the prosecution’s office turned over some discovery at the last minute and the judge is requiring statements from our witnesses as to what they are planning to testify. Although not requiring the same from the other side. Although I was unaware of it at the time a few of our support team were thrown out of the courtroom for looking at cel phones. As an aside, PLEASE don’t get thrown out of my courtroom!!!! It does not help especially once the jury is seated.
The matter of discovery and time of trial start date was discussed and since there are still some unresolved discovery issues the trial was put off till November 28 I took a while before I reluctantly agreed to once again waive my right to a speedy trial. I am growing weary of this and although many say that time is on my side, I doubt if any of them have tried to keep witnesses engaged for nearly 2 years. I understand why so many end up taking a plea deal. We left the courtroom went down the elevator and I saw that the rally had grown…….

Freedom Rally for True Justice part 1 preparation

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This event began many weeks prior and many planning sessions and many many hours of thought and effort into strategy, creating, printing, and distributing flyers, media marketing, creating press releases and a full scale twitter campaign not to mention tireless personal campaigning. We hosted several sign making parties and many made signs from home. Phone bankers called folks that had expressed interest in helping. We coordinated rideshare from San Diego to Kern county including setting up a fund where folks could donate towards gas for rideshare. We even set up a community sack lunch so people didn’t get Hungry or thirsty. Facebook events were created and thousands of invites went out. Stephanie from Lpop, Cheryl and Marla from ASA, Madeleine from Committee of patients, Kandace from OC norml, and many others used their group’s networks to promote the event. Many of us did radio interviews on many local radio stations and podcasts. I felt like a Politician calling sometimes begging friends and others to come join the party and be a part of history! Everyone promised that they would be there including Cannabis planet and some of the industry magazines. I was so excited this was to be the best event we’ve ever done. Then there was that whole court thing to deal with. Needless to say, I didn’t get any sleep that night.

5am I’m up and at em wide awake on 2-3 hours of sleep. Hit the road before 6 and sat in traffic till after 8am got calls from the first ground forces that had already secured the area and spoke with the cops. We got copies of the rules allowed for protest and assembly. Local news agencies had been contacted regarding the event. Our signs, food and drink as well as bullhorns and some wheelchairs for those in need were also there. I had wheelchairs and walkers donated by “Wheels of mercy” for anyone that had a hard time staying on their feet.

When I arrived at the courthouse, more than 30 people were already there including a few photographers with press passes. I met with the officer assigned too our group. He said that even though we were not supposed to have amplified sound that we could use our bullhorns and they would see how it went. I thanked everyone for showing up and reminded that this was a peaceful demonstration and an expression of our first amendment rights then got in line for court.

Long Beach Courthouse site of medical marijuana protest

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By Tracy Manzer, Staff Writer (Press Telegram)_

“LONG BEACH — Close to 100 protestors gathered outside the Long Beach Courthouse this morning armed with wheelchairs, walkers and little green ribbons…


“Forty years ago tens of thousands of people marched on Washington to protest … the draft,” Grumbine said to the large group assembled outside the courthouse.

“That’s starting to happen again … no one should go to jail for growing a plant.”

Among those who came to show their support for the pair were attorneys, military veterans, elderly patients and hip urban youths. They drove from as far north as Kern County and as far south as San Diego…”

You can read the entire story at http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_18902685

Foot Solider Letter from the Trenches

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Dear Joe,

Even though the it scares me to death, I try to be pragmatic about the world, not let the out of kilter, criminally wrong reality of the drug war, the violence the injustice the sheer number of people who’s lives and families are damaged by these laws, affect my outlook too much, because if I did, then not only would they win with the fear they cultivate, but everyone, everything I love, family, friends, my country, not just myself personally, will lose.

And even though I support them, I am not a member of the choir. Because, truth be told I cannot sing. My voice is too discordant and hoarse, my tempo and rhythm always missing a beat, I get the words mixed up and most discouraging, people tend to find my attempts to sing disconcerting and annoying.

And after some study of this problem, I have come to the opinion that the choir is not going to win against this windmill that is the drug war propaganda machine, anyway – especially because despite the fact that a few can belt out a catchy and touching hymn, they do not all sing the same hymn or even harmonize much. The message becomes watered down and worst of all, it seems at times, that everyone wants to be a diva.

Actually, lately I have been too busy with the battle, to really figure out why the choir, isn’t what it should be. Because of The Human Solution, I have become a foot-soldier, a trench digger, and strategist. It is difficult to see through the mud, but I sometimes will take a five minute break or so, and look at those standing shoulder to shoulder digging trenches in the bitter rain around me, and I see the same determination and focus on the battle that they bring, and I am glad that I am not alone in this, even if they sometimes try to get me to sing along to a song while we work.

Thanks,