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The Kind and the Unkind: Supporters of medical marijuana are making a mountain out of a mold hill.


When Drugs Go Bad

What should law enforcement officers do, if they find a bunch of towering marijuana plants growing in your backyard? A) Destroy all the plants and arrest you on sight? B) Destroy only some of the plants, if you can prove that you really are a medical marijuana patient? C) Count and photograph the plants, take some samples, and ask you to show a medical marijuana recommendation, ASAP?

Sheriff's deputy Kim Allyn says C is the preferred option in liberal ol' Santa Cruz County. (Let us not forget that it was machine gun-toting feds, not the Sheriff's Department, that whacked WAMM's 167 plants back in September 2002.)

So, why then did the Sheriff's Department chop 30 plants belonging to medical marijuana patients Wilfredo DeJesus and Kali mBula, only two weeks after the WAMM raid?

"Because they were in their house with an expired prescription, shitloads of magic mushrooms and a bunch of cash. What were we supposed to do?" says an exasperated Allyn. "If the pair had wanted to be diligent medical marijuana patients, they should have kicked out the people selling the mushrooms, not grown an army of plants, and kept their prescriptions up to date."

Readers may recall that DeJesus and mBula were found with lapsed medical marijuana recommendations, 12 pounds of psilocybin mushrooms and $12,000 cash in their residence. But another tenant ended up being booked for the 'shroom possession. And after DeJesus and mBula provided updated prescriptions and enlisted the help of attorney Ben Rice, a judge ordered their 10 pounds of pot returned, which it was by year's end, which would have been a nice belated Xmas present, had it not all been "a la moldy."

Wo/Men's Medical Marijuana Alliance co-founder Valerie Corral agrees that it isn't a good idea to cloud the issue with something like an expired prescription when you're growing marijuana.

"But that still doesn't take away your right to take your medicine," says Corral, adding that there are many reasons why a person's medical

marijuana recommendation could have lapsed--including the fact that some doctors may charge $250 to prescribe the green stuff.

But while DeJesus, who has had several run-ins with the Sheriff's Department before, wishes the deputies had at least left him "seven plants like before," Rice, who is on WAMM's legal defense team, says the group fears a numbers system would be inappropriate and too conservative.

Some jurisdictions, including the cities of Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco, have already established guidelines as to how many plants a medical marijuana patient can grow, but, as Rice points out, legislating the number of plants doesn't address how much pot you will actually end up with.

"That's influenced by whether you grow in a container indoors, or outdoors and in the ground, and whether plants are in shade or in sunlight," says Rice, who describes DeJesus' and mBula's dopeless dilemma as "outrageous."

"Cutting down plants puts people who are ill in the position of having to buy medicine on the street, where they risk getting ripped off or buying stuff that's been chemically messed with, via fertilizers and steroids. That's bad if you're already sick. The deputies should have simply counted the plants and let the DA's office make the call."

Meanwhile, deputy Allyn acknowledges that "with the DEA eliminating all of WAMM's resources, a lot of patients are giving their excess plants to the beleaguered cooperative. But trying to regulate medical marijuana is like a can of oil--it's hard to maintain integrity."

"And don't go screaming at the sheriff's office because your marijuana's gone soggy," says Allyn. "Are we in the business of managing a marijuana farm?"

Well, hopefully not, 'cause judging from that mold it would be the crappiest marijuana farm ever! However, as huge fans of Super Troopers, Nüz has to admit that would be pretty cool. (Meow.)

Funny Bones

Speaking of the DA's office, our new District Attorney Bob Lee made history Jan. 3, by being sworn in at the court house in Watsonville as well as at the one in Santa Cruz--a move that suggests he's the first DA to truly recognize the importance of South County.

Afterwards, at a reception at Holy Cross Parish Hall, Darling House owner Darrel Darling predicted that George W. Bush doesn't give a damn about getting re-elected in 2004.

"All he cares about is turning the clock back," Darling told Nüz, before asking us for our predictions for 2003.

"It'll be a good year for cartoonists," hedged Nüz. And speaking of George Bush and his never-ending comic potential, political comedian Will Durst is coming to town this Friday to make his own State of the Union address. Durst, who's been called a mix of Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Osgood and Mort Sahl with a touch of Dick Gregory, is here to kick off four consecutive Best of San Francisco Stand-Up Comedy Competition events by "mocking, stomping and taunting with taste."

Quips Durst, "George Bush has been very good to me. He's our special prez. Most presidents are figureheads, Bush is a hood ornament."

Durst performs at the Kuumbwa this Friday, Jan. 10. Tickets are $18 advance at Ticketweb.com, More Music and Streetlight Records, or $20 at the door. Call 415.383.4759.

Double Oh Three

New Year's Eve was strangely anticlimactic downtown this year, what with First Night being virtually nonexistent and cops outnumbering people by about five to one. But hey, even though the economy is in the shitter, and the weather was equally chilly, the parade still rocked. Special kudos to the little soccer players who deftly dribbled balls down the entire length of Pacific Avenue, not to mention the Frisbee catching Unicycler. Personally, we wish there could be about 3 million more giant puppets, but Morgani dressed as a pink-tutued ALF was a cute reminder of why we are truly glad the '80s are over. Yeah, let's look to the future, Santa Cruz, and get First Night 2003 together. Unless, like Dubya and Bin Laden, you're going apocalyptical on our ass, and don't think it's worth planning beyond Cheney's next coronary.

All the News That Fits In One Square Block

With two "crimes" happening on Cooper Street in recent weeks (an anthrax scare, then a drug bust), Nüz is getting used to covering news from the comfort of our own desk.

In the case of the drug bust, Nüz took multitasking to a new level as the news unfolded right outside the door, both typing and answering phones while watching a gloved Santa Cruz police officer reach through the open window of an old green Volvo and pull out a heap of fat ol' needles.

"Silly" was how the cops described whoever it was that left their Volvo in a no-parking zone with the window rolled down and their gear in full view. "Lazy" is how people will doubtless be describing Nüz when we implement our new policy of not covering any news that happens beyond 50 feet of the office.

Nüz just loves juicy tips: Drop a line to 115 Cooper St, Santa Cruz, 95060, email us at , or call our hotline at 457.9000, ext 214.

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From the January 8-14, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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