US Court Orders Defendant to Find Alternative to Marinol

OAKLAND, July 13th (Friday) – At a pretrial detention hearing, federal magistrate Donna Ryu ordered medical cannabis activist Jose Gutierrez to find another legal drug than Marinol to treat his chronic back pain. Jose’s doctor, Frank Lucido, testified that he had prescribed Marinol because it was the best legal drug for his condition, but the judge objected that it caused her a “problem” because drug tests cannot differentiate it from marijuana, which would be illegal. In fact, there does exist a test that can discriminate between Marinol and marijuana, but it is not available through the particular lab that has been hired by US Pretrial Services.  

The bottom line is that a US court is asking a defendant who has not yet faced trial to give up legal cannabinoids in favor of addictive opiates because of the inadequacies of its own laws and drug detection technology.

Jose faces felony charges for assaulting a federal officer stemming from a scuffle in which he was beaten to the ground by federal agents during the Oaksterdam raid last April. The offense carries a sentence of up to 5 years. As a condition of his release, he was ordered not to use illegal drugs. Jose’s actual charges have nothing to do with marijuana other than the fact that he was protesting a medical marijuana raid.

The court dealt with several other defendants during the morning’s procedures. Virtually all were minorities facing drug charges of one sort or another, whose pre-trial behavior was being micro-managed by the federal courts.

An op-ed criticizing the abuse of pretrial detention to paternalistically interfere in defendants’ lives appears in today’s New York Times: “Bowling, as Bail Condition.”

A summer party to raise funds for the defense of Jose Gutierrez plus Daisy Bram and Eddy Lepp is being held on Saturday, July 28th by Green Aid at the home of Ed Rosenthal and Jane Kline in Piedmont, CA. Buy $20 advance tickets

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