Hey all. Greetings from the great state of Oregon. Had to diary this story since I seem entrenched in the middle.
It all started this last winter when I read about Ed and Elaine Brown's legal problems with the IRS and federal Government. Just the other day this was posted on kos.
It truly is amazing how events that we don't even consider, let alone agree upon, somehow become intertwined with the events in our own personal lives, sometimes in very unexpected ways.
When I first read about Ed and Elaine Brown, they were still going to trial on their tax evasion charges. What made me pay attention to their story? I also had an upcoming trial. Although on different charges (mine being state charges, their's federal) both cases had similarities that couldn't be ignored. Also, it is my opinion that Randy Weaver's presence at the Brown residence is also due, in part, to the similarities in his own criminal prosecution: prosecutor's malfeasance.
In early 2003 I registered with the OMMP, as a caregiver for sick people who use cannabis to alleviate illness.
Here is a little background on Oregon's medical cannabis law. It was passed overwhelmingly by voters in 1998 and then supplemented by legislators in 2005, to include more plants and more quantity in possession. Also in 2005 Oregon's Attorney general, Hardy Myers, issued THIS, reassuring the people of Oregon, that their law was still intact.
That year (2005) found me growing medical cannabis for a very ill man, a head trauma patient, who suffered frequent and intense migraines. Cannabis was the only medication that wouldn't upset his stomach. He really needed his cannabis!
On August 17th of that year, while I was at work 100 miles away selling produce and nursery plants at the Bend Farmers Market, my business and nursery were raided by the authorities. First they flew and hovered over my place with an Army National Guard helicopter. And then they raided. I need to mention that when they hovered they were under 50 feet off the ground (according to a neighbor). This was apparent when I returned home. All my tomato plants were flattened and my nursery stock was dried out and defoliated. It was 98 degrees that day: think convection oven.
Of course I was in shock when I saw the damage. At first I thought I had been vandalized (actually I was). I immediately phoned the Sheriff's office and asked what the hell was up. Their response was that a search warrant had been served and illegal drugs had been seized. My response was that I was a legal OMMP caregiver and those plants were legal and that this must be some terrible mistake and that I wanted the plants returned immediately. Early the next morning, 1:00 am, I met personally with the Sheriff's deputy in charge, presented him with all my documentation and demanded the plants be returned. He copied the paperwork and said that he would fax it to OMMP and confirm my status. Since it was still early in the morning, he told me I would have to wait. At five that evening, I went back to the Sheriff's substation to meet with the aforementioned deputy. Of course he wasn't there. So I drove around looking for him to no avail. On my way back home, I stopped at a friend's place of business to inform them of my predicament. As I was entering my vehicle to leave, I spotted my deputy sitting in his patrol vehicle across the street, concealed by some bushes. So I drove across the street and pulled up to him. He seemed a little taken aback, to say the least. As I started to ask him about my case, I noticed, in the back of his cruiser (a sport utility vehicle), a shitload of cannabis plants! I could tell they weren't the ones I had been growing since these plants had the lush look of live, healthy plants. Although it was still quite hot and dry, these plants where in no way wilted nor showing any sign of stress. I jokingly told the officer that he'd better make sure their soil was moist, or the plants might stress and wilt in the heat. He gruffly replied that he had cut them earlier in the day. At this point I smelled bullshit and stepped out of my vehicle to get a better look. As I approached the vehicle to peer inside, he tried to block my view, but I did get a glimpse of potted pot. He was very gruff with me and would not discuss the matter with me on the street. He said, "Follow me down to the sheriff's substation to talk." At the station, he informed me that my legal status as a caregiver wasn't valid anymore and he handed me a citation for two felonies. No handcuffs.... no immediate jail... just a citation with a possible outcome of forty years behind bars!
Anyway, this is just the tip of the iceberg of the perfidy and corruption that I have experienced in the last 22 months. Perhaps I will diary the rest of the story later if I get enough comments on this one. Now, back to the Browns and how we share a collective dilemma.
As I went through the different court proceedings in my case, I fired my first court appointed defender for malfeasance (denied subpoena of favorable witness, amongst other things) and was appointed none other than Mr. Ron D. Howen, former USA, lead prosecutor of the bungled Randy Weaver case in Idaho. Wow! Did that ever make me feel in safe hands. Now here was a man that was sure to help me!
It was a good three months before Ron and I actually got to meet and talk in person, this was done in the parking lot of a bar. (nice office, hmmm)
That meeting turned into a shouting match between Mr. Howen and I. Here is the best qoute from that match:
Are you so naive, to think that the FBI doesn't have the list of all the OMMP patients and caregivers? Ron Howen
When I regained concisnous, I replied, "Then get this case thrown out on the grounds that the FBI violated patient privacy laws" and used military personel and hardware in the raid. His reply?
I don't believe in Posse Comitatus
To say the least, I was blown away!
So you can see how I have taken an interest in the Brown's case, not that I necessarily agree with their course of action, or Weavers either. However I can see how they were forced into their desperation.
I have to agree with arvo. We need to watch this case unfold carefully, not only for their safety and justice, but ours as well.