Activist Banned from Talking About Marijuana 6/25/99

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A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ordered a medical marijuana user to stop speaking publicly about marijuana, or face a two year prison term. Joe "Hemp" Kidwell was sentenced last week by Judge Albert Matthews for cultivating fourteen marijuana plants in a storefront office in Venice Beach in 1998. Kidwell, whose doctor testified in his defense at his trial, is protected under the state's laws barring prosecution of people who use marijuana medicinally. But the judge also restricted him from using marijuana anywhere but inside his own home.

Kidwell has been an outspoken and controversial marijuana activist. Before his conviction, he operated First Hemp Bank Distribution Network, a Venice buyer's club. He was arrested two other times last year, once for offering a police officer a joint, which resulted in a misdemeanor conviction. The other arrest, resulting from a report that he was smoking marijuana on a public promenade, will go to trial next week.

The Week Online spoke with Kidwell's attorney, Ronald Richards, who said Kidwell will appeal the probationary restrictions under statutory and Constitutional grounds. Kidwell also criticized the government's continued reliance on prohibition, saying, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and thinking it's going to solve a social problem." "Locking everybody up and making them criminals for simply growing some marijuana, not for sale, is insane."

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Issue #96, 6/25/99 Governor of New Mexico Calls Drug War Failed -- Calls for Discussion of Alternatives | Hyde's Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act Passes House Easily | Vancouver's Cannabis Cafe, Hemp BC Closed | Activist Banned from Talking About Marijuana | NEW YORK: Staten Island Assemblyman Wants Needle Exchange Banned | IDAHO: "Drug Bust: The Longest War" TV Special Preempted by Drug Testing Speech in Boise | News in Brief | Supreme Court Roundup | WASHINGTON: Free Video and Lunch-Talk Series | Editorial: Can't Keep a Good Idea Down
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