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Medical Marijuana: California Dr. Molly Fry Sentenced to Five Years

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #529)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

A federal judge in Sacramento sentenced Dr. Marion "Mollie" Fry and her companion, attorney Dale Schafer, to five years in federal prison for conspiring to grow and distribute marijuana on March 19. Fry, who used marijuana herself in connection with radical breast cancer surgery, and Schafer, who used it for back pain and a dangerous form of hemophilia, also provided marijuana to patients under California's Compassionate Use Act.

Fry, Schafer and family at August 2007 demonstration (courtesy
But the Justice Department prosecuted the couple under the federal marijuana laws, leaving US District Judge Frank Damrell Jr. no choice but to impose the mandatory minimum five-year prison sentenced required under the law because they had more than 100 plants.

"It is a sad day, a terrible day," Damrell said during sentencing, adding that if it were up to him, the punishment would have been less. But he also criticized Fry and Schafer for refusing to accept a plea bargain that could have left them free. "You had the opportunity to resolve this case, but you wanted to soldier on, knowing that your kid would be left behind," he told the couple.

In a departure from normal practice on the federal bench and to the delight of supporters who packed the courtroom, Judge Damrell granted the pair bail, so they will remain free while their case is appealed. Damrell, who is also presiding over the Bryan Epis case and has granted him bail too, said the exceptional circumstances of the case create "serious issues that need to be decided by an appellate court." Among those, he noted, are Fry and Schafer's claim they were entrapped.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

I hope the appeals court does the right thing and lets them go back to growing and being free.

Fri, 03/28/2008 - 8:52am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Why is that person holding the American Flag upright. It should be on the ground to be trampled upon and the dirt wiped from the bottom of their shoes. After all, isn't that what the government which that flag represents has been doing to the rights of the people and the Constitution?

The Stars & Stripes represent the world's leading Police-Prison State--make no mistake about it! DOWN WITH THE USA--a quasi-totalitarian oligarchy where the people's vote doesn't count for doo-doo squat!!

Fri, 03/28/2008 - 11:31am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

What a blatant & unapologetic waste of TAXPAYERS' money... All for the sole purpose of sabotaging these good people's humanitarian effort.
Conversely, massive pharmaceutical companies are creating more addicts & dependents every day & how are they punished?... Well, with large tax cuts of course & exclusive control/regulation over their own markets!

Fri, 03/28/2008 - 1:34pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

We-the-People are obviously not 'in-control' of the direction our law-makers
or our law enforcement community is moving in.

The voters of several states have said "YES" to Medical Marijuana, and somehow
the government of the USA has been allowed and able to go against this display of
American democracy and say "NO" to American Democracy! Not REALLY so amazing.

Reminds me of the things I read in the book "1984", (not to be confused with the movie!).
The government's approach, in the book, to controlling the masses seem to be playing-out
in real life.

Jack Grabit.

Fri, 03/28/2008 - 2:09pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Where is the former pot smoking Governor Schwarzenegger and Cal. Attorney General Brown on Medical Marijuana issues. If you want change; we need to vote for Libertarians.

Fri, 03/28/2008 - 2:58pm Permalink
dogofthecourt (not verified)

Perhaps the flag should be upside down to show that the nation is in distress?

But let's rally behind that flag as we wage war again for liberty.

Fri, 03/28/2008 - 9:43pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Ask any law enforcement official which domestic situation they'd prefer to avoid:

1) An individual or group high on liquid drugs... alcohol?
2) An individual or group high on marijuana?

Does anyone really doubt which drug has the statistically higher ratio of violence & death... even though marijuana smokers face much harsher penalties... including longer prison terms and forfeiture of assets... a drunk person would have to kill somebody to perhaps warrant such justice!

Suggest the following to any prohibitionist, or their legions of stooges & enforcers, and they'll try to kill or incarcerate you... and never mention their intellectual terrorism or they'll sympathetically proclaim you another poor 'paranoid delusional'... another victim of Satan's smoke... in desperate need of the type of compassion & rehabilitation that only an overcrowded massive prison system can provide!

Suggest that the 1st drug war, the Prohibition against 'liquid intoxicants' (the drug of choice of our European immigrants and ancestors... also the original 'gateway drug' ) which officially started in 1919 with the 18th amendment came about exactly the same way as the 2nd drug war, the Prohibition against marijuana... amazingly fast political actions by a radical Progressive Prohibition Movement (PPM)... how fast a responsible & vigilant citizen may wonder... less then 6 hours and no prior committee meetings!

If you're not immediately arrested or shot for your Gnostic rants, or hedonistically libertine crimes against their children and society at large, perhaps because your 'accusers' find you amusing.... like a cat with a wounded mouse or bird... they'll allow you to continue with your conspiracy theories.

EXCEPT... your lawyers sage advice starts to become audible through the cognitive dissonance dissipating inside your newly numbed skull... previously drowning out rational thought and hampering critical thinking (professionals commonly refer to this as 'caveman mode')... he's screaming at you to 'ZIP IT' --- because your 'accusers' will use everything you say and they make up against you, etc, etc...!

Most cops are unwilling stooges of the current Progressive Prohibition Movement! Cops are given great discretionary powers and it's unwise to provoke someone who may be and/or act sympathetic. However, zealot sects like the DEA are trained to react violently against 'druggies', however peaceful, however responsible, even vital, to their existence.

Facts confuse and threaten prohibitionists, and, they should fear the wealth of information and knowledge the few libertarian minded among us possess... not to mention the criminal implications the equally illegal 2nd drug war carries! If only we could get the justice dept to do it's job and strike down illegal laws... as it did when it struck down the 1st drug war in 1933.

I believe it's also long past time to start holding those responsible... accountable... for their serious crimes ... regardless of title or stature... had the supreme court held the PPM responsible for their crimes in 1933 when they repealed drug prohibition... we wouldn't be fighting these dangerous delusional criminals now!

But the fundamentalist PPM remains alive, newly energized, and enabled today thanks to her immortal allies: fear, ignorance, certitude, copious amounts of hypocrisy, and the heavy hand of the police state... so beloved by moralists and the purveyors of gods & governments!

Prohibitionists remain antagonistic and dangerous to a modern egalitarian society... their delusions, desperations, paranoia's, pretenses, and proclamations make them more deceitful, disgusting, and criminal then ever.

Billy B. Blunt
Tacoma, WA

Fri, 03/28/2008 - 10:20pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Wht is it they're always saying, "We don't go after SICK people!" Another DEA "pipe dream." And LIE!

Sat, 03/29/2008 - 9:57am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

A law excluding tobacco and alcohol from consideration has no moral authority to address Cannabis as an issue.

Contrast the wisdom of Francis L Young with the ignorant bombast of Nixon: Google "once secret Nixon tapes".

The Controlled Substance Act is in contradiction of its own criteria: Our state explicitly accepts the use of Cannabis in medical treatment, by both physician certification and our LAW. Ben-gay and water intoxication claim more lives by abuse. Raw potatoes are more toxic.

Compound the fact that the law is a damned lie with the farce an oath to air "the WHOLE truth" becomes when the word "patient" draws a "sustained" objection. What a Stalinesque atrocity; just like the trials of Epis, Rosenthal and the rest.

And Betsy Ross' flag was made of Cannabis fibre. Not some God-forsaken tested-for-low-THC variety either; "Make the most of the *Indian* hemp seed..." --Thus spake George Washington.

Indian hemp? Google "WB O'Shaughnessy"!

Sun, 03/30/2008 - 1:06pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jury nullification refers to a rendering of a verdict by a trial jury , disagreeing with the instructions by the judge concerning what the law is, or whether such law is applicable to the case, taking into account all of the evidence presented. Although a jury's refusal relates only to the particular case before it, if a pattern of such verdicts develops, it can have the practical effect of disabling the enforcement of that position on what the law is or how it should be applied. Juries are reluctant to render a verdict contrary to law, but a conflict may emerge between what judges and the public from whom juries are drawn hold the law to be, or the legitimacy of a law itself. A succession of such verdicts may signal an unwillingness by the public to accept the law given them and may render it a " dead-letter " or bring about its repeal. The jury system was established because it was felt that a panel of citizens, drawn at random from the community, and serving for too short a time to be corrupted, would be more likely to render a just verdict, through judging both the accused and the law, than officials who may be unduly influenced to follow merely the established law. Jury nullification is a reminder that the right to trial by one's peers affords the public an opportunity to take a dissenting view about the justness of a statute or official practices.

Wed, 04/02/2008 - 1:16am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

"The freedom and happiness of man....[are] the sole objects of all legitimate government" Thomas Jefferson 1810

We speak out against our government and protest various injustices at every instance, but how many of us bother to show up at the polls every two years to vote. I would suggest all who are dissatisfied with our government to do what I do: Vote against the incumbent! After 40 years of following politics, I can safetly say that there isn't a nickel's worth of difference between democrats and republicans. Their politically opposite stance and rhetoric are just smoke screens to cover their real agenda, power and the wealth that comes with it.

If enough people follow this simple strategy, a strong message will be sent to Congress that we won't stand for a country where 25% of all prison inmates are drug offenders and 50% of those are incarcerated for simple marjuana possesion or sale. Meanwhile the govermnment has outsourced prison management to private firms at $150 billion a year. They can't legalise marijuana use if they need to feed that multi billion dollar industry, can they?


I've no doubt that Jefferson and other founders would have lit up if they knew what that stuff they made rope out of could do. As my two long dead uncles who hauled hemp during the 1930's once said, "If we had any idea of the street value of that stuff in our wagons....."

Thu, 04/03/2008 - 9:00pm Permalink

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