|Photo: Douglas County Sheriff’s Office|
|Matthew Palazzolo, 25, of Sacramento, Calif., has some homework. He is being forced to write a report for a yokel Nevada judge telling “how stupid” California’s medical marijuana law.|
A judge in Nevada has given an unusual sentence in the form of a homework assignment to a 25-year-old Sacramento man who sold marijuana to a police informant in a casino parking lot at Lake Tahoe.
Matthew Palazzolo was ordered to write a report parroting the right-wing views of District Judge Dave Gamble on what the judge called the “nonsensical character” of California’s medical marijuana law, reports Sheila Gardner of the Gardnerville Record-Courier.
The judge gave Palazzolo 90 days to complete the paper discussing his “self-admitted realization” that marijuana was a “gateway drug” that “led him to use more powerful narcotics” — never mind the scientific studies disproving the gateway theory.
“Here’s a young man with a bachelor’s degree and a rosy future and now is a potential felon,” Judge Gamble said during last Tuesday’s sentencing in Gardnerville, Nev., south of Carson City.
Palazzolo, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, was arrested outside a casino in Stateline in February after he sold a quarter-pound of cannabis to a police informant for $1,060.
Palazzolo, who works for a Sacramento law firm, said he grew the pot after getting a medical marijuana card.
“I had a sore back,” Palazzolo said. “I used records from my chiropractor who had diagnosed I had regular back and neck pain… I was never laid up or in bed.”
Palazzolo said he developed the back pain through activities like snowboarding, wakeboarding and martial arts.
|Judge Dave Gamble: “If this isn’t testimony to the absolute asininity of medical marijuana laws in California and the path Nevada is choosing”|
”So you decided to grow your own?” Judge Gamble asked. “If this isn’t testimony to the absolute asininity of medical marijuana laws in California and the path Nevada is choosing.”
The judge failed to articulate exactly what he found so “asinine” about empowering patients to grow their own medication rather than forcing them rely upon the harsh, often ineffective, pills available from big pharmaceutical corporations.
Nevada, like California, has legalized the use of medical marijuana with a doctor’s authorization.
Palazzolo’s attorney, Derrick Lopez, claimed the arrest and substance abuse treatment convinced his client he had a “drug problem.”
“He’s been abusing drugs for a long time,” Lopez claimed. “He changed roommates, got rid of all his marijuana, and asked California to void his medical marijuana card.”
“He would benefit from diversion,” Lopez said. “He has never been in trouble before, except the marijuana. He is really embarrassed about this situation.”
Palazzolo said he obtained the medical marijuana card for recreational drug use.
“I have a drug problem, and I would not have said that a month and a half ago,” he claimed. “Alcohol and marijuana are gateway drugs that led to harder drug use,” he said, obediently repeating the mantra assigned to him by the judge.
Palazzolo claimed drug use had taken him down “a path that is a very ugly place” and said he now intended to “stay sober.”
Judge Gamble allowed Palazzolo to enter a diversion program in California and ordered quarterly appearances before his court, along with random drug testing.
The judge also ordered Palazzolo to contact “the quasi-bureaucratic outfit in California and tell them you want them to cancel the card.”
“I really, really want that report,” said Pete Guither of Drug WarRant. “Ninety days will make it somewhere around Thanksgiving, unless he gets it done earlier.
“I’m hoping it’ll be made public, or one of my readers will have access and get it to me. Seriously,” Guither said.
“I plan on grading it.”