|Asian American Bar Association|
|Federal judge Donna Ryu ordered a defendant to stop taking the legal prescription drug Marinol because it causes the court a problem on drug tests|
A medical cannabis activist has been ordered by a judge to find another legal drug than Marinol to treat his chronic back pain.
Jose Gutierrez’s doctor, Frank Lucido, testified at a pretrial detention hearing that he had prescribed Marinol because it is the best legal drug for his condition, but the federal magistrate Donna Ryu objected that it caused her a “problem” because drug tests cannot differentiate it from marijuana, which is illegal under federal law.
In fact, there does exist a test that can discriminate between Marinol and marijuana, according to Dale Gieringer of California NORML, but it is not available through the particular laboratory that has been hired by U.S. 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,” Gieringer said.
Gutuierrez 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 University raid in April. The offense carried a prison sentence of up to five years.
As a condition of his release, Jose was ordered not to use “illegal drugs.” His actual charges have nothing to do with marijuana other than the fact that he was protesting a medical marijuana raid.
The court also dealt with several other defendants during the morning’s procedures. Virtually all were minorities facing drug charges of one sort or another, whose pretrial behavior was being micromanaged by the federal courts, according to Gieringer.
An op-ed criticizing the abuse of pretrial detention to paternalistically interfere in defendants’ lives appeared 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 28 by Green Aid at the home of Ed Rosenthal and Jane Kline in Piedmont, California. You can get $20 advance tickets at http://www.green-aid.com.