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Marijuana user waiting for the smoke to clear

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Cannabis Sacrament Minister.
Cannabis Sacrament Minister.

Joined: 14 Apr 2003
Posts: 2550
Location: Amsterdam

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 1:52 am    Post subject: Marijuana user waiting for the smoke to clear Reply with quote

Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 15:22:41 -0800
From: "D. Paul Stanford" <>
Subject: 001 CA: Kern Co. MMJ Advocate Faces Charges

via Dale Gieringer

Marijuana user waiting for the smoke to clear
Bakersfield Californian
Posted: Tuesday January 13th, 2004, 10:30 PM
Last Updated: Tuesday January 13th, 2004, 10:49 PM

Victor Allen Love is imbedded in his favorite La-Z-Boy recliner,
ignoring the parade of Democratic presidential contenders kissing
Iowa babies on the television set in the corner.

Though the smoke has cleared, the acrid sweetness of marijuana is
still strong in the room. The inch-long stub of Love's breakfast
jpint is still in an ashtray nearby, next to his Bible -- cold now
and awaiting his inevitable pang of afternoon arthritis.

Love, bearded and barefoot, wants me to know it's OK. He has a
doctor's note for his pot. Two, actually, from two doctors. And reams
of material about the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, the country's
first medical marijuana law.

The law, enacted as Proposition 215, permits Californians with
certain medical problems, including cancer and HIV, to grow and use
marijuana to knock back pain and nausea, but only on the
recommendation of a physician.

To Love, who says he also suffers from gout and asthma, the law is a
godsend. He placed a sign citing the law in the 35-by-10-foot garden
out in back of his double-wide, in the Lake Isabella-area burg of
Mountain Mesa. It stood there like a scarecrow against sheriff's
deputies and others who would question his right to grow.

It didn't do him much good.

Deputies tore out his plants last September and arrested him and his
girlfriend, Deborah Peugh, on charges of cultivation and possession
with intent to sell. She goes to court today for her preliminary
hearing; Love's day in court is Friday.

He's been in Kern County courtrooms before, having been arrested on
gun and marijuana possession charges in 1992 and 1994. And there
might easily have been more on his rap sheet. He claims to have quit
his motorcycle gang, Los Compadres, after the Hells Angels killed a
man at a Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway in 1969. And he
was a heavy heroin user but quit, he says, thanks to an LSD-induced
moment of clarity.

Now he's an ordained minister in the nondenominational Church of the
Here and Now, and though he lacks the traditional vestments of
clergy, he's got the emphatic baritone of a man of the cloth. The
Rev. Love's cloth just happens to be tie-dyed.

On this particular day he's preaching the gospel of ganja. Medicinal
cannabis works, Love says, booming authoritatively over the drone of
the TV.

If he had enough, he says, he'd share with anybody who asked --
provided they had a legitimate medical need, backed up by a doctor's
letter. If he thought he could do it and still stay out of jail, he'd
gladly be the chief proprietor of a nonprofit Lake Isabella Cannabis

Why? Because cannabis is infinitely better than this, Love explains,
reaching across a cluttered lamp table to pick up a jam jar-sized
bottle of white, oval pills -- hydrocodone, a powerful and addictive
prescription painkiller. Legitimately obtained, he notes.

Of course, Love contends, so was the marijuana.

The Sheriff's Department, which uprooted and hauled away Love's crop
last Sept. 10, apparently disagrees. Deputies, who found the plants
- -- some as big as five feet tall -- growing across the back fence of
Love's property, say they saw too much traffic outside the place for
Love's operation to be anything other than a for-profit enterprise.

When they burst in, armed with a search warrant, they found a number
of telltale items, most notably about $800 in cash and an Ohaus-brand
scale. But, Love says pointedly, no pay-and-owe logs.

Deputies yanked out the 16 plants -- Love says there were only 13 --
along with his carrots, tomatoes, beets, spinach, corn, snap peas and
butternut squash. He's especially mad about the butternut squash.

And now his stash is down to this: three fat green-brown buds, one of
the Thai variety, the other two from a cannabis family he fondly
calls "Fruity Pebbles." The samples survived the sheriff's raid only
because he'd previously buried them in a Mason jar.

If the Rev. Love had his druthers, he wouldn't be smoking pot at all;
he'd be grinding it into a fine powder and sauteing it every morning
with butter, garlic and onion for his breakfast burrito. (Chicken and
refried beans complete the recipe.) Eating it, Love says, numbs the
pain and minimizes the drug's inebriating effect, and he can
customize his dose to meet that day's pain level -- hence the scale.

Explaining all that will be part of his strategy this week. He's
hoping for the same outcome that Lori Lane Feliciano got in 2002,
when her Kern County case involving the alleged cultivation of six
marijuana plants was thrown out; she had also cited the Compassionate
Use Act.

Sheriff's Cmdr. Hal Chealander, whose Lake Isabella-based deputies
carried out the search on Love's home, says the Compassionate Use Act
doesn't create a legal force field around people who cultivate
marijuana -- for medicinal purposes or otherwise. It merely provides
a potential defense in court. Deciding whether it applies to the case
at hand will be up to the jury. Love says he's anxious to get all
this settled. After all, it's already January. Planting time is right
around the corner.

Copyright =A9 The Bakersfield Californian

- --=20
- ----
Dale Gieringer (415) 563-5858 //
2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114

I declare Peace on war!
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