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​Latin American Presidents’ Calls For Legalization Debate Go Unheeded At UN Drug Policy Meeting

The annual Drug War meeting of the United Nations is just wrapping up in Vienna, and sadly, none of the sentiments recently expressed by Latin American presidents about the need to consider legalization were raised during the sessions.
“Alarmingly, the U.S. even opposed amending one of its resolutions to include mention of the need to consider human rights when implementing drug policies,” Tom Angell, media relations director at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), told Toke of the Town on Friday morning.

Even while several Latin American presidents are calling for an outright debate on drug legalization, delegates at the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting this week failed to even discuss a change in the global prohibitionist drug treaties, reports a group of judges, prosecutors and jailers who were at the meeting in Vienna to promote reform.


Richard DeLisi, sentenced to three consecutive 30-year terms, or 90 years, for a marijuana importation conviction in 1989, will remain incarcerated. Judge Michael E. Raiden denied a motion requesting a review of his sentence last week. DeLisi has spent the past 26 years behind bars for a nonviolent offense that has a normal guideline sentence range of 12 to 17 years.

Bruce Cohen/Facebook
Toke of the Town correspondent Sharon Letts, author of this article, at last week’s court support day for medical marijuana defendant Joe Grumbine in Long Beach, California

By Sharon Letts
For several years I’ve watched from Northern California as fellow Cannabis activists painted signs, rallied and gave support for those incarcerated and held for good medicine throughout the medically legal State of California.
Recently, I had the good fortune to join those in the cause at the Long Beach County Courthouse in support of an above board dispensary and co-founder, The Human Solution’s Joe Grumbine — held pending bail on Cannabis charges in the cannabis-conservative County.
It was exciting to meet friends I have only known on Facebook, but it was even more curious to see what the curbside faction was like up close and personal. It’s long been known that those in the forefront of the failed war on drugs are outspoken, to say the least. 
Rally in a Box
It takes purposefulness to keep a box of signs in the trunk of your car for that last minute rally.
Purposefulness, passion and a whole lot of caring come to curbside with each activist showing up for court support for those incarcerated and/or on trial for a plant.

Cheri Sicard/Facebook
Joe Grumbine — who has fought so hard for the right of California medical marijuana patients to safely access their medicine — has been thrown back in jail

California medical marijuana defendant and activist Joe Grumbine was put in handcuffs and hauled off to jail at what was supposed to be a short scheduling hearing in court on Tuesday.

According to Cheri Sicard, who works with The Human Solution, a medical marijuana patient advocacy/court support group formed by Grumbine, the prosecutor brought up a traffic stop that happened in Riverside, Calif., a few months ago.

Catrina Coleman/West Coast Leaf
Joe Grumbine outside the Long Beach Courthouse with his grandchild Jojo

Joe Grumbine and Joe Byron, whose recent trial for operating a medical cannabis dispensary in Southern California attracted worldwide attention — make that horror and disbelief — for judicial and jury misconduct and prejudice, has been granted a new trial.
“This was a terrible, terrible trial,” said Long Beach Superior Court Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani, who granted the motion for a new trial. 
“I read the transcript [of the previous trial]and I am appalled,” Judge Comparet-Cassani said on Friday, reports Cheri Sicard of The Human Solution, who attended the hearing along with Grumbine and other members of the group.

Cheri Sicard started using cannabis medicinally in 2009 after a suggestion from her doctor. She was astonished at how well it worked.

By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent
Sharing the NORML Women’s Alliance booth this weekend at the High Times Medical Cannabis Cup in Los Angeles will be two notable authors.
First is Cheri Sicard. Cheri spent much of her childhood and early adult life, interestingly enough, traveling the country and the world as a circus performer, magician and mentalist.  Along the way she started writing about travel and food which lead her to become an internet entrepreneur back in the days when it was just a series of tubes.
She is the author of The Great American Handbook: What You Can Do For Your Country Today and Everyday (2002 Berkley Books), US Citizenship for Dummies (2003, Wiley, co-author with Steven Heller, Esq.), Everyday American (2008, Bookspan, ISBN: 1582882975), and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Easy Freezer Meals (2011, Alpha Books, ISBN: 1615640649).

The Weedly News
Joe Grumbine, above, and Joe Byron were found guilty of all counts Wednesday by a jury in Long Beach, California

Long Beach Kangaroo Court Yields Insane Jury Verdict

After what was reportedly one of the worst, most farcical and biased trials in history, led by an octogenarian judge who openly and repeatedly expressed his bias against medical marijuana — at one point even ordering a screen to be erected between the jurors and courtroom visitors — Joe Grumbine and Joe Byron, who operated Long Beach dispensaries, were found guilty Wednesday of all 13 counts.

The two are scheduled to return to Long Beach Superior Court on January 11 for sentencing. Superior Court Judge Charles Sheldon allowed the men to remain out on bail over the holidays.

Grumbine and Byron were raided and arrested two years ago this month, reports Nick Schou at OC Weekly, resulting in a long legal nightmare which culminated in today’s convictions. The jury found both men guilty of selling marijuana, tax evasion, and electricity theft.
The charges, according to supporters of the two Joes, are nothing more than an attack by overzealous police and prosecutors in violation of California’s medical marijuana law, reports Tracy Manzer at the Long Beach Press Telegram.

Joe Grumbine
Joe Grumbine addresses supporters outside the courtroom

​The out-of-control antics of an octogenarian, rabidly anti-marijuana judge continued to appall activists in Long Beach, California this week. Superior Court Judge Charles Sheldon, the 79-year-old judge in the trial of Joe Grumbine and Joe Byron, former operators of a pair of Long Beach cannabis collectives, didn’t even bother to conceal his obvious bias against the defendants, according to observers.

“We got pounded this week and especially the last half of today,” Grumbine posted on Facebook Friday night. “In spite of three motions for a mistrial due to bias, we move forward in this landmark case.”
Right at the outset of the trial, Judge Sheldon denied the two Joes their right to mention medical marijuana in their defense — upon which, of course, the whole case hinges. This prevented their attorneys from calling it witnesses who could testify that they were following California state law. But after a ruling last week by the California Court of Appeal, Sheldon was left with no choice but to allow such witnesses to testify.
On Monday, when confronted with this ruling, Sheldon refused a follow-up motion by the defense to delay the trial for a week so defense attorneys Alison Margolin and Christopher Glew could get ahold of the previously off-limits witnesses. But Judge Sheldon insisted the trial start right away.

joe grumbine and dog crop.jpg
Catrina Coleman
Joe Grumbine, The Human Solution: “We operated a collective. But the jury will never hear that part.”

​Medical marijuana patient and provider Joe Grumbine is currently fighting for his freedom, facing 13 felony counts in a Long Beach, California court.
Grumbine, who founded the activist group The Human Solution to provide court support for medical marijuana defendants, now needs that kind of support himself, as the clueless judge in his case barred him from using the medical marijuana affirmative defense.
The jury won’t be allowed to even hear that Grumbine was operating legally under California law; I predict 12 very angry jurors when they learn the truth.
Unless and until more medical marijuana providers are willing to stand up like Joe Grumbine has for medicinal cannabis laws and the patients they are designed to protect, innocent people will keep being caught up in legal nightmares like this one.
Toke of the Town had a chance to chat with this hero of the medical marijuana movement.

Joe Grumbine
Joe Grumbine and The Human Solution supporter Daryl Hannah sport their green Solidarity Ribbons to represent medical marijuana patients

​The rights of medical marijuana patients and providers to have safe access to cannabis — approved by California voters 15 years ago, but still opposed by reactionary elements in law enforcement — are on the line in California in a closely watched court case in Long Beach Superior Court.

The People of the State of California vs Joe Byron and Joe Grumbine is the name of the case, and it pits the notoriously anti-marijuana Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve “Hot Dog” Cooley against Long Beach collective owner Joe Byron and collective operator and marijuana activist Joe Grumbine, both of whom refused to bow down to the same old, same old practice of repression and fear.
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