MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Activist Found Guilty In ‘Caregiver’ Case
In "a case being closely watched by marijuana activists across Southern California," cannabis club activist Marvin Chavez was convicted Friday of felony and misdemeanor charges related to his distribution of marijuana through the Garden Grove-based Doctor, Patient, Nurse Support Group. The Los Angeles Times reports that "the verdicts fell short of a full victory sought by prosecutors," as Chavez was found guilty of felony charges for selling marijuana to undercover Orange County District Attorney prosecutors and transporting the drug through the mail, but received a misdemeanor -- downgraded from felony -- conviction for "giving away marijuana." Chavez, whose case "could clarify who is entitled to the legal protection that a care-giver is allowed under Proposition 215," was barred from using the care- giver defense by the trial judge, who ruled that he did not "fit the definition of a 'primary care-giver.'" San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan "said the fact that the Orange County jury reduced some felony charges to misdemeanors might indicate that they believe Chavez was actually trying to help patients." He faces up to seven years in prison. His lawyer, David Nick, criticized the "legal maze" of uneven prosecution produced by Prop. 215. Nick said, "It is a crazy quilt criteria that changes with landscape, political figure and county lines." After the verdict was handed down, an "emotional" Chavez said, "I am still here for what I stand. I never hid behind the law. I stand in front of the law" (Yi, 11/20). Click here for previous coverage of cannabis clubs.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.