Felony Charges for Woman Cultivating Marijuana for Ukiah Cannabis Buyers' Club 4/10/98

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On April 2, Lake County, California district attorney Stephen Hedstrom slapped Yvette Rubio with felony counts of possession and cultivation of marijuana for sale. Rubio was arrested last fall. Rubio was supplying marijuana to Cherrie Lovett, medical marijuana patient and founder of the Ukiah Cannabis Buyers' Club. Rubio cultivated the plants assuming she was covered by Proposition 215, the 1996 initiative legalizing the medicinal use of marijuana.

The 51 plants were surrounded by fences with copies of a contract identifying the crop as a supply for a cannabis buyers club. If convicted, Yvette Rubio could face three years in state prison.

Rubio's property lies on the border between Lake County and Mendocino County. Mendocino County's Board of Supervisors has written letters and passed resolutions denouncing federal opposition to the Ukiah CBC. Evidently, Lake County does not feel the same way.

Marvin Lehrman, Director of the Ukiah CBC told the Week Online, "This is a big step backward. We were moving in the other direction. People in need are getting relief from this plant. I can't understand why anyone would want our potential suppliers prosecuted. Luckily, for our patients, we were able to find other sources." Rubio, however, is not as lucky.

According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Lake County district attorney Stephen Hedstrom maintains that his actions are within the guidelines of Prop. 215. According to Hedstrom, the recent ruling against Dennis Peron of the San Francisco Cannabis Cultivators Club makes it clear that marijuana cannot be grown as a commercial enterprise. Hedstrom claims he waited for the outcome of the Peron case before deciding whether to prosecute Rubio.

"We are not a commercial enterprise. We are a volunteer, not-for-profit organization, dedicated to providing patients with safe, affordable marijuana in a safe environment under a law passed by the majority of Californians," said Lehrman.

Rubio's attorney, David Nelson, told the Press Democrat, "What we don't like is the felony prosecution. She's got plans in her life. She wants to go to school. It's a killer."

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Issue #37, 4/10/98 DRCNet Exclusive: Syringe Exchange Funding Ban Decision to be Released Within Two Weeks | Oakland Asset Forfeiture Law Challenged -- and, Federal Forfeiture Update | Senate Would Extend Marijuana Prohibition to Include Medical Research | Felony Charges for Woman Cultivating Marijuana for Ukiah Cannabis Buyers' Club | "It's the Pain, Stupid:" Kevorkian, Pain, and the DEA | Vaclav Havel Vetoes Bill Criminalizing Drug Possession | Update on Drug and Harm Reduction Policies in Central and Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States | German Doctors Vote in Favor of Heroin Prescription | Drug Policy Letter Focuses on Women and Drugs | Medical and Public Health Organizations Oppose Criminalization of Pregnant Addicts | Editorial: Vaclav Havel's Second Prague Spring
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