It was almost jury nullification, but not quite. Jason Andrews is a California Medical Marijuana dispensary owner who provides free cannabis to terminally ill patients, and for the past two years he has been facing state charges on Sales and Trafficking of Marijuana, in a state where medical marijuana is legal. Andrews even has all of the required government licensing, and complies with all of the regulations, his operation is 100% legal.
Earlier this year his case was to be decided in court, and things really weren’t looking good for him. Luckily, there was one juror who was informed about the power of jury nullification, and tried his best to convince the jury to rule in favor of the defense, seeing that the charges against Andrews were not only unjust, but also illegal, even according the state. The other jurors would not comply, but juror 101 stood his ground and refused to allow the rest of the jury to put Andrews away.
Jason’s complications began On October 12, 2010 when he was followed by police when leaving a dispensary that he worked with. This week I had a chance to ask him some questions about his run in with police and he was able to explain the events that led up to his charges.
JGV: Can you explain more about your free delivery service and what exactly happened the night you had your run in with police?
JA: The Collective I left that night was a Dispensary store front. They offered Medical Marijuana to Patients and I have a small Collective Delivery Service that I provide free medication to the terminally ill. When we have extra medicine we provided it to this Collective Store Front, who took it on consignment , then took donations from there other patients for the medicine. When they had gotten rid of it they would call me and reimburse us for it. This Collective was being watched as well as a few others in Lake Forest California by the Orange County Sheriffs because they had been fighting the city and won a recent appeal.
JGV: Can you share some details about what police found on you and what happened after they found it?
JA: I had a pound of Medical Marijuana on me, Two strains in two 8 oz. bags as well as $5800 in cash in the Bag and $420 in my wallet. I had received a car settlement two weeks earlier and had some cash.. They took all of this as well as other property. A signed copy of Jack Herer’s Book The Emperor Wears No Clothes and a phone which had the last picture of my older brother who died one month prior to this.. Those are important to me.. There were also letters from Congressman and Women and Senator on issues I wrote to them about.
I was held in the car for what seemed like a few hours and then I was told that I was free to go. I was not given a ticket or anything other than a warning for speeding and a receipt for my money, I was released and told have a good night. So for a month or so I called the Sheriff’s Department and Internal Affairs Congressmen and Senators, I called everyone and anyone. No one would help.
JGV: Wow, insane…They steal your property, let you go and then press charges against you when you try to pursue them about it. That is horrible, I thought that medical marijuana was totally fine in the state of California.
JA: California has really failed its Patients and Caregivers, which is why I am refusing to take any kind of deal and fighting this to the end. People who do this kind of work are not criminals and they should not be treated like they are.
JGV: Of course, you aren’t hurting anyone or violating anyone’s property, but natural law aside, everything you do is fully legal according to the state of California?
JA: Yes, I am a State Patient and had a Recommendation from a Dr. that said I can grow or possess 52 oz. I only had sixteen. My passenger who is also a Patient I am a caregiver for had her Rec that said she could grow or Possess 27 Oz. We were well within our rights. She had the State I.D. card and I had the State I.D. card 1 of less than 10000 in the State and I also had the State Caregiver Card 1 of less than 250 in the State of California. Yet to this day after two years, a trial and $25000 dollars later no one from the judge to the officers to the D.A. has ever checked to see if my information was valid.
JGV: You mentioned that you’re also a legalization activist for proposition 215, do you think that your involvement with this group or the movement as a whole had anything to do with you being targeted? Is this situation a show of force against local growers and dispensary workers?
JA: Yes I think it is a show of force on behalf of the City of Lake Forest for losing in their court battle and also on the side of the Orange County Sheriffs, D.A.’s and judges who say “The Law doesn’t matter in our Opinion Marijuana is a Drug and you are a Drug Dealer” So we are going to prosecute all these cases and make them take a deal”… Well the law does matter.. I followed it why aren’t they?
JGV: You’re absolutely right, it’s out of control. I’m sorry this situation has happened to you, and I wish you the best of luck in your next trail. Is there anything the readers can do to support you in this difficult time?
JA: Well, Any attention that the activist community or the alternative press could bring to this issue would be greatly appreciated. If anyone wants to help with Court Fee’s I have a Website Pro215.com where you can contact me and we do accept donations to help with a legal defense fund. Also consider writing your state senators and demand that they legalize Medical Marijuana so that Patients and Caregivers can be safe from the cartels and law enforcement!!
Jason Andrews’ story is unfortunate, but not unique, as growers and dispensary owners all over the state of California are being targeted and harassed by police for providing a service which is completely legal in their communities. In most cases where growers and dispensary owners are persecuted, it is the result of federal agents bypassing state law to set up some sort of raid or sting operation. However, as we can see through Jason’s situation, many state cops are also ignoring state law and using the quasi-legal status of medical marijuana as an excuse to intimidate people and steal from them.
It is highly possible that this harassment is motivated by the police unions, and their underlying desire to keep the drug war alive, for the sake of their protection racket. Marijuana arrests are the bread and butter of any police department’s budget, and without the drug war this cash crop of human beings would disappear and create significant financial problems for the prison industrial complex. In just a few weeks on October 28th, Jason returns to court to fight his battle all over again, but hopefully this time he is able to gather enough support and have better luck that he did earlier this year.
J.G. Vibes is the author of an 87 chapter counter culture textbook called Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance and host of a show called Voluntary Hippie Radio. He is also an artist with an established record label and event promotion company that hosts politically charged electronic dance music events. You can keep up with his work, which includes free podcasts, free e-books & free audiobooks at his website www.aotmr.com.