(Co-defendants Jazmine Mendez and Stacy Carcereny)
In the wake of the dismissal of Joe Grumbine’s case, the organization he founded, The Human Solution came to support several new defendants at the Deukmejian Courthouse. One of the defendants is currently fighting cancer; meet 21 year-old Stacy Carcereny, a lifelong citizen of Long Beach. She has been suffering from ovarian cancer for several years, forcing her to mature beyond her years. Her battle with cancer is one of the reasons that lead her, until recently, to work at a local medical marijuana collective. The medicinal use of cannabis has not only helped relieve the pain and suffering endured during her cancer and its associated treatment, but may have also caused her cancer to be recently downgraded to Stage 2.
Stacy is now facing the Long Beach judicial system as a defendant in a felony case – with up to four additional charges pending – for working in a Long Beach dispensary. The dispensary has been raided at least five times in the past year. Five of her co-workers are also charged in relation to their work at the dispensary, but they are only facing misdemeanors. Long Beach Police are claiming Stacy is an owner in the operation because she had the keys to the store in her possession, thus the felony charges.
Long Beach Police used the same excessive violence as in similar raids on dispensaries. This includes brandishing assault rifles, using flash grenades, unnecessarily damaging property, and firing rubber bullets at scared teenagers and young men and women. In this case they crashed through the front door putting a gun to the head of a young female receptionist, never announcing themselves as the police. They then battered down the door to the Green Room and lobbed in a flash grenade. The security guard was roughed up and everyone present was handcuffed. Except for one young woman who thought they were being robbed, and tried to escape through the backdoor. Several cops took chase; one shot her with a rubber bullet as she then tried to hide under a parked car. She was dragged out and handcuffed with the others.
Stacy was in cuffs while being manhandled, leaving large bruises on her upper arms and wrists. Even worse, LBPD took her rent money – $1,500 – from her purse. The employees were brought to jail and Stacy spent the next two days away from her family, medication, and her fiancé Jose. Jose is her biggest supporter and the newest member of the Long Beach chapter of The Human Solution.
Stacy has retained Matthew Pappas – a friend of The Human Solution and recent candidate for Long Beach City Attorney – to represent her. Notably, Pappas was successful in convincing the judge to deny a “Stay Away Order,” which would have prevented Stacy and her co-defendants from entering any medical marijuana dispensary. Although Pappas is only representing Stacy the denial was extended to all other defendants in the case.
The judge further obliged Pappas by agreeing to push back the date of the defendants’ next hearing to October. The original date was set for June; the extension gives the city time to complete its new medical marijuana ordinance, which could affect the case. Pappas stated a new ordinance might have retroactive effects on current and past medical marijuana cases.
If a new ordinance is successful maybe Stacy and The Human Solution won’t have to fight for her freedom, but in the meantime Joe Grumbine showed us not to buckle and that we can win if we fight and work as a cohesive group, while supporting each other. We all remember when Joe Grumbine was where Stacy is now. He learned to help others by surviving it first himself.
Stacy and her family met Joe on this last 4/20, just 3 days after his case was dropped after 6 years. Her first hearing was the following morning in Long Beach. Joe insisted that he would be in court the following morning with a full support team, but after his multi-year battle we convinced him to recharge and let the Long Beach chapter handle Stacy’s first hearing.
With all the troubles surrounding medical marijuana in Long Beach it is sad to say The Human Solution will have more cases to support, but we are up to the task. Right now we are fighting for Stacy and her co-workers and for Chris Woodard (more info on Chris’s horrific story). Joe’s success in Long Beach is just the beginning, so help The Human Solution keep the momentum rolling by supporting Stacy and other courageous warriors.
(From Left to Right: Scott Slaven, Attorney Matt Pappas, Jazmine Mendez, Stacy Carcereny, and Fiancé Jose)