Sounds strange to hear, after 23 years of medical marijuana being legal under the 215 Compassion Act of 1995. Since then law enforcement has continued to arrest medical marijuana patients (MMP). The main piece of 215 under part (b) is the protection for patients and caregivers not to be criminally prosecuted for medical marijuana. For 10 years, from 1995 to 2005, medical marijuana patients were criminally prosecuted for things like transportation, possession of concentrated cannabis, manufacturing concentrated cannabis, cultivation, etc. Until some decent defense lawyer studied the 215 law where it says that patients and caregivers cannot be criminally prosecuted for marijuana offenses.

With the quick growth of the marijuana industry in California, many, many new laws have overwritten ALL of the prior marijuana laws. For example I’m an MMP and I had a search warrant executed on my property because someone could see marijuana plants, which also should mean that they saw my posted MMP referral letter. The VCOS Sheriffs had been told 10 months previously that I was MMP, yet that information didn’t appear on the search warrant. The judge issued the warrant with the belief that my plants were illegal and not part of the 215 MMP rights to grow. Even when the sheriff deputies came to the door with NO physical warrant, I immediately told them everything was 215-compliant. Did that stop them? No.

Long story short, they noticed my MMP referral posted on the green house but they continued to destroy all my plants, seize all of my medicine, and arrest me for felony cultivation, felony possession of concentrated cannabis, felony manufacture of  concentrated cannabis, and felony child abuse. They dropped all charges except Health and Safety Code 11379.6(a), which says that every person, unless authorized by law, who manufactures, compounds, converts, produce, derive concentrated cannabis through chemical extraction. I was told when I was arrested, “not having the right license to manufacture, you can’t do it as a private person.” My response was yes I can as a medical marijuana patient.

Remember those new laws I spoke of earlier? Well, one is the Assembly Bill 266 Medical Marijuana Safety Act, which defines concentrated cannabis as marijuana and vice versa. It also defines a manufacturer as someone who, through chemical extraction or synthesis or a combination of both, manufactures concentrated cannabis. Senate Bill 643 under Section 7, Section 19987(a), qualified patient, as defined in Section 11362.7 of H&S who cultivates, possesses, stores, manufactures or transports cannabis exclusively for his or her personal medical use but who does not provide, donate, sell or distribute cannabis to any other person is not thereby engaged in commercial cannabis activity and is therefore EXEMPT from the licensure requirements of this chapter.  Even the new recreational marijuana law says that anyone over the age of 21 can cultivate, possess, store, manufacture, produce, even give away marijuana. It also says that police can’t treat marijuana as contraband, giving them the right to search your body or property, even says you cannot be criminally prosecuted.

So why is Ventura County choosing to enforce some laws and choosing to disregard others? For example, District Attorney Gregory Totten, a week after recreational use was passed, put an open letter in the Ventura Star. To say the least, it was very discriminatory to all the patients, caregivers and the people who voted 78 percent for recreational. While the sheriff puts out a statement that he will not enforce federal immigration laws.

In court I witnessed a man asking that marijuana not be included on the list for his probation. The judge asked for what reason?  The public defender responded, “Well, I think, uh, isn’t it legal now?” The judge turned to his clerk and said, “Marijuana is legal now?” The clerk just started laughing, saying, “Yes, pot is legal now,” which in turn made the judge start laughing. This was five months after recreational has passed and three months it has been law.

The DA is still prosecuting my case about medical marijuana? To try and intimidate me through fear to take a plea deal. How? Every time I appear in court I have four to five bailiffs surround me, I have been arrested twice for failure to appear while standing and speaking to the judge.

Eric Dyer a lifelong Ventura County resident since 1972, obtained a Medical Marijuana Referral since 2003 for chronic back and hip pain that the doctors couldn’t prescribe “enough” opiates and muscle relaxers for eight years since college basketball. This is a letter to the editor.