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Sunday, February 17, 2008

DEA Ordered Seizure of Medical Marijuana from Paraplegic Patient

Priorities, priorities. Goon squads on parade in New Mexico.

From the ACLU New Mexico: CARLSBAD, NM - According to a sworn affidavit filed this past week by an Eddy County law enforcement official, the seizure of medical marijuana from a local paraplegic man, "was done at the direction of and under the guidance and control of the [Drug Enforcement Administration] DEA."  The affidavit, submitted by David Edmondson, Commander of the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force, which conducted the seizure on September 4, 2007, makes clear that the federal government directed local law enforcement to seize the medical marijuana of a patient fully authorized to use the medicine under state law.

"This is yet another glaring example of the federal government's improper obstruction of states' ability to implement compassionate and sensible medical marijuana policies," said Adam Wolf, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's Drug Law Reform Project.  "For the DEA to co-opt local law enforcement in its misguided assault on medical marijuana patients is both callous and unconstitutional."

On September 4, 2007, at least four Eddy County deputies, acting as members of the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force, arrived at the home of Leonard French in Malaga, New Mexico. French, a paraplegic who experiences intense pain and severe muscle spasms stemming from 1987 motorcycle accident, holds a license issued by the state of New Mexico identifying him as a medical marijuana patient under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act.

Assuming that the deputies had arrived to check his compliance with the state compassionate use law, French presented the deputies with his identification card and showed them his hydroponic equipment, including two small marijuana plants and three dead sprouts.  Acting under the guidance of the DEA, according to yesterday's affidavit, the deputies seized the equipment and plants and later turned them over to the federal agency.

The ACLU, which represents French in a pending legal challenge, says the seizure violated not only New Mexico's Compassionate Use Act, but also state forfeiture laws and a constitutional prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. French has not been charged with any violations of federal or state drug laws.

The affidavit is available online here. The ACLU's legal filing is available online here.

The New Mexico Legislature passed the medical marijuana bill during its 60-day Session in 2007.

See our previous post on the ACLU lawsuit on behalf of French.

February 17, 2008 at 01:22 PM in Civil Liberties, Crime, Healthcare, NM Legislature 2007 | Permalink


We need to move beyond the medical marijuana position. The criminalization of marijuana is no different than prohibition. People should be able to use it for whatever purposes they desire - recreational, pain relief, whatever - with the same legal restrictions that exist on alcohol (age, DUI).

This is a freedom and liberty issue. There is not, nor has there ever been, a proven case of anyone dying from marijuana use. It does not cause violent psychosis, the way alcohol can. Nor is it physically addictive. The 'gateway' label is a myth. In short, the only detriment to society caused by marijuana is the fact that it is illegal.

Sam Harris wrote a brilliant essay on the need to decriminalize marijuana, which I have posted on my website: http://www.call4democracy.org/article.asp?AID=788

Not to mention the fact that non-psychoactive hemp is about the single most useful plant on the planet. If we really want to get serious about the environment and energy, we need to be producing hemp for textile and fuel.

We have ruined the lives of millions of decent, hardworking AMERICANS over this innocuous and harmless plant.


Posted by: Jason Call | Feb 17, 2008 6:17:37 PM

Right on, Jason! Thanks for staying active and making many useful, substantive comments here. We need your perspective and your energy.

Posted by: Proud Democrat | Feb 18, 2008 1:57:33 PM