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Alabama Patient Facing 10 Years for a Gram of Medical Marijuana [FEATURE]

Activists in Alabama have been trying for years to get a medical marijuana bill passed there. Last year, for the first time, a bill made it out of committee. Next year, they will try again, but even if they succeed, it will be too late for Michael Lapihuska.
Michael Lapihuska, facing camera, wearing Alabamans for Compassionate Care t-shirt
Lapihuska, cursed with depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), grew up in Alabama, but left the state after serving 13 months for possessing five grams of marijuana in 2003. The now card-carrying medical marijuana patient from California was arrested on marijuana possession charges again on December 15 in Anniston, Alabama, as he visited his family for the holidays.

Lapihuska was stopped by a police officer and accused of hitch hiking as he walked down a road. The officer demanded he be allowed to search Lapihuska, and he complied. The search came up with a prescription bottle containing one gram of marijuana. Lapihuska explained that he was a registered California medical marijuana patient and produced a patient ID card.

But Alabama justice doesn't recognize medical marijuana, and Lapihuska was charged with his third marijuana possession offense, this one worth between two and 10 years in state prison. Under Alabama law, a first marijuana offense is a misdemeanor, but a second possession offense is a felony punishable by a year in prison. A third possession offense is a felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison.

"Alabama is a terrible, terrible place when it comes to drug laws," noted Loretta Nall, a long-time Alabama drug reform activist and leader of Alabamians for Compassionate Care, a medical marijuana activist group that has taken up Lapihuska's cause.

Lapihuska's public defender is urging him to cop a plea in which he would be sentenced to one year, with the sentence suspended and two years probation. But that deal also includes drug testing, and that's a deal-breaker for him. "Everyone says just take the probation, but if I did that, I'd end up in prison anyway for failing the drug test," he said.

"This is Anniston, Alabama," said Laiphuska. "There is no way I'm going to win this case. But my doctor told me this was my recommended medicine. If I was prescribed Oxycontin, or morphine, or Xanax and was walking down the road, they would have had to give my medicine back. I broke the law, but I think the law is wrong. I'm looking at two to 10 years for a gram of marijuana prescribed by my doctor?"

Lapihuska has been stuck in Alabama since December while awaiting trial. It hasn't exactly been fun, he said. "I've been miserable and anxious. I just want to go someplace where my medicine is safe and legal and I'm not at risk for using the medicine that works best for me."

In addition to repeated stints behind bars for using marijuana, Lapihuska has been hospitalized for mental health reasons 20 to 30 times, he said. "I've been on all sorts of medication. Most of my life has been eaten up with anxiety. They've tried Xanax, Thorazine, all kinds of things. They even gave me an anti-Parkinson's disease medicine and told me I would have to take it the rest of my life. I would sleep 16 hours a day on those meds, I'd be shaking," he recalled.

"But now, I feel better than I've ever felt," he said. "I ride my bicycle 50 to 150 miles a day. And now they're arresting me for the thing that cures me."

Unless he or state prosecutors relent, Lapihuska goes to trial October 28. If it comes to that, the Alabama medical marijuana community will do what it can, just as it has been beating the bushes to publicize the case already.

"Here in Alabama, our only hope of helping Michael out if this goes to trial is to do some jury nullification work," said Nall. "When he goes to trial, myself and other members of ACC will do some handouts at the courthouse to inform people about the true nature of the situation, that he was not just some guy smoking weed. We hope to find one person on the jury to vote to nullify."

Nall and ACC, for whom Lapihuska has been volunteering while he awaits trial, have been laying the groundwork for that by getting the story out. "We got a great article in the Anniston Star," she said. "That generated nothing but wonderful comments on the web site and three letters to the editor, all positive. We've been getting a lot of positive feedback on Facebook, too."

Lapihuska's plight may help the cause of advancing medical marijuana at the statehouse. Rep. Patricia Todd, sponsor of last year's medical marijuana bill, said she would reintroduce it for the session that begins in March. She would try to make it more palatable to law enforcement, she said.

"I'll pre-file the bill after the first of the year," Todd said. "We plan to sit down with law enforcement and health people, and may make some changes to appease law enforcement. I think the bill will start out with three dispensaries around the state, to be regulated by the health department. I think patients being able to grow will be part of it. The main heartburn the health department has is how to regulate it, how to know who's growing what."

While movement on medical marijuana in the legislature has been painfully slow, Todd expressed guarded optimism that her bill would move next year. Last year, for the first time, it got out of a House committee. But much depends on the outcome of the November elections.

"If the Republicans take over the legislature, the bill is going nowhere," she said. "If the Democrats keep control, it'll still be an uphill battle. We got it out of committee last year; this year, I hope we can get it to a floor vote."

"It should be coming up very early in the session," Todd said. "Attitudes are changing. Legislators watch the news, and we have a pretty good grassroots effort going. The main fear last year was that we don't want to be like California, with a dispensary on every corner, and I think we will have addressed that.

Todd said that had her bill passed last year, Lapihuska wouldn’t be facing the problems he is. "Our bill has the reciprocity clause in, and that would protect Michael and people like him," she said.

"It's totally ridiculous," said Todd. "He had a card that identified him as being able to use medical marijuana. I'm trying to change this, but this is the Deep South," she sighed.

If Lapihuska is sent to prison, it will be a tight squeeze. Alabama's prisons are at 180% of capacity, Todd noted.

"Our corrections commissioner makes the point to the legislature each year that he wishes we would quit passing laws to incarcerate more people," she said. "But I'm the only one who ever votes against them. Most of our elected officials are afraid they will be perceived as soft on crime, but the war on drugs isn't working, we have more people addicted than ever before. I think marijuana should be legal, and I'll keep on fighting."

So, it appears, will Michael Lapihuska -- unless he can persuade prosecutors to offer a sweeter deal. "I would accept two years of unsupervised probation in California, but for me to have to stay here and do drug rehab for my doctor approved medication, that's ridiculous. And with drug testing, if I use my medicine, I violate probation."

Anniston, AL
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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i can't believe this BS. man

i can't believe this BS. man i'm from alabama, and growing up farming and raising crops and stock there most of my childhood. i know that the 'old timers' grew pot to relax after a HARD days work not to mention the moonshine(haha-what a joke). alabama know better than this, it's the prosecutors who need their ass whipped. i bet you anything that they'll (prosecutors) but this guy in jail and then, just like Marc emery's prosecutor will want to change the laws for marijuana. california lawyers need to go down there and show em up. 10years for a gram? really?! oh my god! that's fucking criminal itself. hide the tylenol, oh nevermind it got recalled...AGAIN!

wtf ?





Reforms are a must

You know in the NFL when you see a bad call and all the cameras clearly see it is the wrong call, the coach runs onto the field and tosses his red challenge flag 30 yards, he is outraged. Then the ref goes on the loud speaker and says the play is un-reviewable...

Then the announcers talk about how they need to fix the rules because what is right, should be right. During the off-season they can look at certain rules and fix them, many have been fixed.

The fans see this and think the same thing. As much as I hate seeing these stories, I think they should be more widely spread to show the rest of America how bad the drug laws are and what it can do medically.

The Persecution of Michael Lapihuska

This has to make any rational person ask themselves at least some of the following questions:

First, why are we still arresting people for possessing a substance that has been found to be less harmful than alcohol, tobacco or acetaminophen?

Second, Michael is a legal patient in California’s medical marijuana program, why would Alabama wish to intercede in an agreement between the state of California, a doctor and a patient?

Third, even if it is against the law, what is the point of sentencing the perpetrator of a victimless crime to such an exaggerated sentence?

Fourth, do you want to pay your part of at least $200,000 in taxes, so that the state of Alabama can house a prisoner for the possession of one joint?

Fifth, why would anyone want to put a patient, not a criminal, in jail for taking his medicine?

I could ask questions like this all day long, and the one thing that they have in common is that to do any of it, does not make a bit of sense.

During the escalation of the war on drugs in the 1990s, the United States Justice Department promoted the war on drugs as an effort to take down the drug lords, but 80percent of the increase in arrests were for marijuana possession.

If you are convicted of possession of marijuana, your chances of serving prison time is four percent greater than someone convicted of trafficking marijuana – Marijuana users sentenced to jail or prison time is 31percent, traffickers 27 percent.

The crazy war is not living up to the billing. We have spent millions upon millions of dollars in South America eradicating coca, but there is more cocaine in America than ever. We eradicate marijuana grown in the U.S., which just means more marijuana coming from Mexico and more money making it into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

Even if marijuana was every bit the dangerous substance they would have you believe, it still could not do 10 percent of the damage that prohibition has done to America.

So, you have Michael. He is a man already suffering from PSTD, and due to the possession of one joint, this man has been under extreme mental stress wondering if he is going to be spending the next 10 years of his life in prison.

It is amazing that our government is willing to trample the constitutional rights of its citizens and inflict such harm on society in order to protect the fiscal interests of the oil, pharmaceutical, chemical and timber companies.

It seems that our politicians are more concerned with campaign contributions and maintaining the status quo than they are to justice or the fair treatment of Americans.

 I know Michael personally (in fact, I took the picture in this article), Michael Lapihuska is not a criminal, quite the contrary. He is a 37 year-old man with a likable personality, a pleasant quality and is quite literally willing to give you the shirt off his back, he nor anyone else should spend 10 years in prison for this.

Thank youRon CrumptonLegislative Liaison, Alabama Compassionate Care

The Heart of Dixie, more like

The Heart of Dixie, more like heartless Dixie. Poor Mike, the only crime here is that he is actually being prosecuted for possession. The cops that arrested this guy should be ashamed of themselves. One gram,think about it one gram,just barely measurable. This guy is going to jail like he is a criminal, shit man who did he kill, who did he rape, who did he rob. The only crime committed here is the incarceration of a sick person with his prescribed medication. Another crime against humanity by the powerful drug warriors against an innocent civilian. The war against the people of the cannabis and hemp community. There is no justice.  The greatest honor of a man is in doing good to his fellow man,not in destroying them. Mr. T. Jefferson

when i read this title i

when i read this title i thought i was reading it wrong for about 2 min. i shit you not! i had to read every word to make sure i was reading it right. i haven't smoked in  a month yall'. this is the epitome of BULLSHIT. 10 years? 10 years? 10 years? like dave chappel said in 'half baked', "just for weed? damn!" with all the media coverage with this hot political issue, they SHOULD cover this just because of the absuritity and show the law's lows. the judge and prosecutors whould be fined for taking this case because they KNOW pot isn't worth 10 years! they have a hidden agenda here. i can't believe this shit! it's not sweet home alabama anymore!

Help us on court date

For those of you reading this from Alabama....please make plans to attend Michael's court date in Anniston. This article says it is on Oct. 28. I was told it would be Oct. 8. I will get clarification today and post back here.

We need as many concerned citizens there as possible who are willing to hand out jury nullification information, hold signs, and just cause a bunch of chaos in general.

You can contact me at [email protected] for further details.

Geographical Location, Should Never Determine Criminality

The case of the government against Michael Lapihuska, shows just how low we have come with this ridiculous "war on drugs". This WOD has failed miserably, and only serves to incarcerate (for the most part) non-violent Americans, while simustaneously enriching the Mexican drug cartels. This needs to stop!  

In the case of Michael Lapihuska, we are talking about the incarceration of a man for a victimless crime. Furthermore, I believe for something to be a crime, it should be a crime in all 50 states, such as real criminals perpetrating acts against other people. What Michael is looking at, is doing prison time for a medically approved substance, for which Michael had been approved for, by a doctor's recomendation, in his current home state out west. Medical marijuana is legal in almost 1/3 of the United States now. If you think about it, the thought of Michael (a non-violent,medical patient), being locked up for something that is legal where he was living in California, and travels to his home state to see relatives for the holiday, it just makes me feel as if "we" are living in a foreign land.

"Medical marijuana doctor approved patient goes to jail in Alabama for one gram of mmj." That would be a sad headline, as well as a sad state of affairs in Amerca, if this were to become true.

I personally know Michael. Michael is not a criminal in any form or fashion. Please help to restore common sense in our federal government in relation to medical marijuana, and their protection from prosecution from the federal government. "We Are The People"!  Government works for us. Not us for them. It's time to stand up for what's right!  Patients don't belong in jail. Jail should be reserved for actual thugs and criminals who choose to perpetrate crimes against society at their will.

I don't really know what to do for Michael, other than tell you I know him to be of good character, and a pleasure to be around. Please help to repel these ridiculous prohibition laws, or at the very least, see to it that medical marijuana laws are passes in Alabama, so no more patients will suffer serving a prison sentence for following doctor's orders. Michael Lapihuska is a certified patient. He is not a criminal. Jailtime need not come into play here, or any punishment at all as far as that goes.

I have no problem whatsoever with sending a man to prison, but it must be justified. The case of Michael Lapihuska does not meet that criteria. 



One in every hundred Americans is now locked behind bars and one adult in 31 is under “correctional” supervision. As the prison population is growing faster than the government can build prisons, private companies see an opportunity for profit.

The US government's outsources prisons and prisoners to the private sector. It is therefor in the interest of this sector to forcibly stand in the way of any criminal justice reform that would cut into their revenue, even if this results in sacrificing public safety or citizens rights.

Here's a transcript of a 2008 PBS special:

Though the average citizen does not know it, they very likely invest in the Prison-Industrial-Complex through the purchase of stock in the more than 2000 mutual funds in operation, as these derive at least some of their profits from inmate labor or prison construction. Companies such as Disney, General Electric, American Express, TWA, and Microsoft all make a portion of their profits from this industry

The following link will show you the very close relationship between Prohibition and the Prison-Industrial-Complex:

The fact is, prison-for-profit prohibitionists don't care! They don't care that, historically, the prohibition of any mind altering substance has never succeeded. They don't care that America has the highest percentage of it's citizens incarcerated of any country in the history of the planet. They don't care about spawning far worse conditions than those they claim to be alleviating. These despotic imbeciles are actually quite happy to create as much mayhem as possible. After all, it's what fills their prisons and gets them elected.

Here's what the UK Economist Magazine thinks of us: "Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little"

  When I read this story I

  When I read this story I had to ask first,why was he walking around with a bottle of pot on his person in a place where he already has a bad rep for drugs? He has been busted in the past and the cops already know him as a bad guy. Anybody with any kind of smarts know that there is a good chance of being stopped or questioned if you are already known that way. I have been fighting to legalize pot in Alabama since I moved here in 2007 from Ohio.  I feel this idiot should have known better. As long as it is illegal in Alabama we ALL have to be careful what we do.  I also have PTSD,depression, and am on some very strong pain meds,but I know that if I want to smoke pot,I have to be VERY careful here. I`ve gotten to know a few cops who feel it should be legal and they don`t even mess with pot smokers unless they are jerks or problem people. I`ve smoked weed for over 36 years now and will always smoke it as it is the only thing that helps me get through the days and nights. We need to pick our battles better because stupidity is no reason to start a fight that has the odds of failing before it even gets started.

Don't excuse

the behavior of the state for any reason.


The defendant that had 1 gram of a plant is facing 10 years in prison while the persecutors are looking at 0 years in prison for their role in this crime against humanity.


I ask you, who is the real criminal?

I'm ashamed to live in a

I'm ashamed to live in a state that chooses which laws of its sister states it wishes to recognize...  We have so many little "exceptions" when it comes to driving a car - tag expiration, emissions inspections, license renewals, etc.  Why?  Because the average American would seriously object to being taken to jail because his tags expired 3 days ago...

Knowing the attitudes down here, I suspect the fact that Michael now makes his home in California has something to do with it, whether it concerns cannabis or just California in general.  Bigotry takes many forms.  Perhaps if he had come from Washington State, Michigan, or Maine he would have been treated differently, who knows?

I've met Michael & I can promise you the WORST damage this young man is likely to do will be to himself - by tripping over himself in an attempt to help someone else.  He is absolutely NOT a threat to society in any way.  Anyone who says that he is a criminal is covering their eyes & yelling "nanny-nanny-boo-boo" refusing to see & hear the truth. 

These are OUR police & elected officials doing this, people.  WE pay their salaries, like it or not.  We have a judge in Baldwin County who has made it his "personal goal to hand down more than 1 MILLION YEARS' worth of sentencing time for marijuana" before he retires.  What a goal!  He is in charge of the drug court.  Wow. 

I have watched several young people struggle to overcome the ridiculously high hurdles imposed by this judge.  The system is DESIGNED for the young people TO FAIL.  Many requirements are at the judge's whim, an antagonistic judge at that.

We will finally be able to breathe as taxpayers when we all stand up & refuse to pay for this corrupt system anymore!  Corporate interests demand full prisons, no matter the cost to the taxpayer.  But, without YOUR MONEY, the entities cannot profit from incarceration of nonviolent people like Michael.

We are being nailed to the wall from several directions on this issue.  The fact that legalization of marijuana was the #1 issue put forth by the public on the Republican party website the other day tells me something.  Legalization was also the #1 issue put forth by the public on Artur Davis' website last year.  Result?  It was thoroughly trounced, denigrated & then ignored...

As taxpayers, we are expected to pay for the War on Drugs.  Do YOU feel any more safe?  Of course not.  Of course there's carnage at the border.  As long as Americans are not allowed to grow for their personal use, there ALWAYS WILL BE.  It's time for my generation & the generation older than me to wise up.  Marijuana is here to stay.  It always has been.  It should never have been outlawed to begin with in order to please a few corporate interests. 

The inception of marijuana prohibition has brought us a prison industry like no other on the planet, one which focuses on nonviolent offenders who use a PLANT.  Personally, I'd much rather deal with a peaceful person who tests positive for a plant than a freaking addict who has run out of her Xanax or Lortabs or Oxycodone & is stealing from friends & family in order to find more on the black market.

Our politicians resist listening to us because of the heavy lobbying ($$$) thrown at them by corporations who want cannabis prohibition to continue.  But, they are spending OUR money punishing people & creating worse social issues we must deal with (broken families, discrimination against funding, etc.) which, of course, cost us MORE MONEY. 

The only way we're going to have peace on this issue is to legalize it - at least for medical use.  Once people see that medical marijuana patients are NOT dying like flies or committing heinous crimes, then we'll legalize it for the rest of the country...  Heck, it makes great hand lotion.

In the meantime, until we decide to stand up, we'll have higher taxes, more home invasions done by our own police whom we pay for ourselves, more buildup of our increasingly fascist police structure with their military-level weapons designed for war when their job is maintaining the civilian public...  We'll have murders galore on the border by criminals scratching for an American profit for a plant they grow to smuggle in...  More people like Michal going to jail.  More young people will have their dreams destroyed & their potential limited by a police record...

It's YOUR choice, Alabama!  Regulation & taxation of this PLANT could actually bring our state INCOME...  It will bring NEW BUSINESSES.  It will even bring NEW TECHNOLOGIES.  This could mean...  NEW JOBS!

Or... not...  It's up to us, Alabama.

The law is the law

The law is the law.  Even if you do not agree with the law, it is still a law and as a responsible, law abiding citizen it is your moral, ethical, legal obligation to obey the law.  If you do not agree that a law is right, constitutional, bogus, whatever, you must go about changing it the right way.  You just can't blow it off or ignore it.  This guy has been arrested before in Alabama, he should have known better.  I have credentials where I live that do not carry over to other states. As such it is MY responsibility to know what States those are and to follow the Laws of that State when I am there.

Even if States do pass laws on the use of medical Marijuana, those laws are still considered illegal at the Federal Level.  The Constitution specifically states that no State can create a law that lessons or supersedes Federal Law.  Marijuana is a Schedule I drug and as such it's possession is illegal.  I do agree with some posts here, if someone wants to be stupid and smoke a plant, let them.  On the flipside you do not have any recourse of action if that person kills a friend or family member.  And yes, it DOES happen.  I have been an EMT for 21+ years.  I have been to accidents where the driver that caused the accident was high on Marijuana, meth, coke and various other drugs.

Am I against the legalization of Marijuana for medicinal use?  No, if it TRUELY has medical properties it should be researched by competent, medical authorities, published in the appropriate journals for peer review and then if warranted legalized.  No, it will not happen tomorrow, or next week or even next year.  This process takes time and if people TRUELY support MJ for medicinal use they will also support the process it takes to ensure that it is safe and used accordingly.

borden's picture

Nice try, but the government

Nice try, but the government has been blocking the research process for decades.

the federal government has

the federal government has blocked all other research because they have ALREADY done the research and found in fact that IT IS A MEDICINE WITHOUT dangerous side effects and in some cases CURES!  what the problem is and what they don't want you to know (as if we didn't already) is that illegal marijuana makes more money than if it were legal.  another benefit, for them, is that by denying patients of this medicine they are in fact keeping the population down, in plain words they, the federal, state and local governing bodies are killing the American People, ONE CONVICTION AT A TIME.  the big pharmaceutical companies as well as the whole prison system loose out on the legalization as well.  one oxycontin costs a lot more than a gram of cannibus to produce.  do the math.  they think we are stupid and that we can not think for ourselves because all we have been able to do is stand with our signs and informational pamphlets, fist's in the air and watch as they pick another one off.  there are a lot of pro medical cannibis groups out there and what we need to do is to band together as one voice so loud and clear that they (the government) in every state will understand that



The law was the law

in Germany in the 1930s and 40s as well.


I guess people like you would just move on over and allow the SS to help themselves to as many Jews as they would like?


Or would you stand up in the face of tyranny and say no regardless of what any arbitrary group of lawmakers (a government) decides.

Brinna's picture

Actually, you are wrong about the Constitution.

@ GLKing  There is no place in the Constitution that states: " State can create a law that lessons [sic] or supersedes Federal Law."  What it does do is say that whatever is not specifically assigned legislatively to the Federal Government remains the purview of the States.  P.S. if you want to know what is really prohibited to the States read Section 10.

So, now that you have your civics lesson under your belt, let me ask you this: If the law is the law, then what do you make of this next statement, which actually is in the Constitution:

"Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof."

An Act that California performed (Prop 215) was the legalization of Medical Marijuana. Alabama SHOULD be putting full faith and credit in that Act. Ergo, Alabama is breaking Constitutional law.


The Law is The Law

Wow, you really need to do your research before you make some of these comments and look as foolish as you do. There are hundreds, and hundreds, of peer-reviewed, published reports, and most that acknowledge that it causes no permanent ill effects and should be legalized (this was presented to...damn, can't remember which President, I think Nixon or the one before him, but they were too busy taking kickbacks or whoever the President was at the time who instituted the "War on Drugs." He's the one that "had to make it his platform." (Forgive me that I forgot his name, because I have Neuro-Lyme disease and it affects parts of your memory...I said, parts and if it wasn't for medical marijuana, I wouldn't be here today to educate you!)

As far as you being an EMT and "seeing what marijuana, meth, and coke, does" you gave yourself away there too. EVERY reported death by someone who had marijuana in their system ALSO HAD either alcohol, meth, or one of the many other drugs you mentioned. Check your facts. There isn't one report in the United States of someone killing someone while driving while JUST on marijuana. Most people who do smoke can't be bothered to go for a drive---it's too much work! We all drive too slow!

Oh, and yes, "Wait for the process to work?" Yea, you see how far that's gotten everyone so far......nowhere.

Look up your history too while your at it.....Hemp was grown and used by George Washington! It was one of his major crops. It wasn't until the war and Rockerfeller and the rest of "boyz" who just bought millions of acres of land for trees to make paper.....hmmmmm, let's see----produce hemp, a renewable, many use, non THC form of hemp to build things and make things with-----or----millions and trillions lost in not only the purchase of the land, but in their future "revenues" in the paper business. Guess who won?

Next time you want to be a reporter, be one...check your facts BEFORE you print them. (I'm excused on mine because of my Lyme and it's 3 a.m and I'm not about to look it up, but hey, you can!)

Well said ALX Medic reasons all the power to you!

Couldn't of written / reply better than you did! Thumbs-Thumbs up:) Kat..

Money Talks

Your argument is wrong becuz the money /profits keep the illegality of pot indefinately just like profits keep our other broken systems broken in the same way... You cant change it legally cuz the corruption keeps it illegal.

Law schmaw

GLKing......You have everything so ass backwards I got dizzy reading it. Here in Alabama it used to be legal to enslave another human being and illegal to free that same enslaved human being. Neither law was right and those who disobeyed them are heroes and heroines.

And you and all other human beings have a MORAL RESPONSIBILITY to DISOBEY unjust laws...not follow them. Following them means/implies that you agree and that is what gives laws their power and makes those in charge of making the laws think everything is just damn peachy with said bad laws.

And federal law DOES NOT supercede state law. Read the 10th amendment to the US Constitution which deals with states rights.

Alabama, 5-grams Medical Marijuana; potential 10-years Prison

It would cost Alabama at least $30,000 a year to keep Lapihuska in prison for 5 grams of Marijuana. No wonder Alabama has financial problems. Talk about securing jobs for the prison industrial complex while Americans face the prospect of soup lines.

GLKing look man, it is our

GLKing look man, it is our right to safely smoke if we wish, it is a harmless plant, pursuit of happiness no!!!...go research trhis miracle plant for goodness sake PLEASE, it will save the planet its that big, 55,000 products can be made from hemp...and no i have never hugged a tree in my life by the is insane that this person is looking at 10 years, this is heartless and cruel punishmnt, recently someone died as they were denied a transplant because they were a LEGAL medical marijuanapatient, what say u to this sir

Absolutely Terrible

This is a sad but all too true story. It does not matter where you are, you must abide by the laws of the locality you are at. If he were to have been in an Arab state such as Iran, he would be facing the death penalty as a foreigner in possession of an illegal substance. 

I am all for the legalization of this wonderful plant, but until that day comes, you have to be willing to deal with the rules and regulations set forth, and the consequences thereof. Will he get the 10 years? Probably not. That is a worst case scenario. I wish this poor gentleman the best of luck.  

GLKing, there has been quite

GLKing, there has been quite a bit of research dome, actually! I want you to read the actual studies from PubMed and medical journals, or if you prefer, the many, shorter news articles about the studies.  I've put them in a free, easy to use format- "Granny Storm Crow's MMJ Reference List" (the July 2010 version is the most recent.)  I invite all of you to take a look at my list and to educate yourself!

Here are a few of the WebMD articles that I have collected. Most of you already know that WebMD is a reputable medical site. I'll just give the the link for the first article straight from my list- you can copy and paste the others into WebMD's search bar.

Marijuana Ingredients Slow Invasion by Cervical and Lung Cancer Cells  (news - 2007)


"Marijuana's Active Ingredient Targets Deadly Brain Cancer"

"Marijuana Ingredient May Cut Fibromyalgia Pain"

"Marijuana Chemical Fights Hardened Arteries"

"Chemicals in Marijuana May Fight MRSA"

"Pot-Based Drug Promising for Arthritis" 

"Cannabis May Help Multiple Sclerosis"

"Marijuana May Fight Lung Tumors"

"Marijuana May Slow Alzheimer's"

"Marijuana Smoking Doesn't Kill"

That Michael Lapihuska is facing 10 years for using a doctor-recommended, herbal medicine is ridiculous! Cannabis is far safer medically than any of the prescribed medicines for his conditions! Even common aspirin kills hundreds every year- while cannabis has maintained a 0 death rate by overdose for as long as such records have been kept! My list provides studies showing that cannabis is effective for many medical conditions. The US government holds a patent (US Patent 6630507) on a medical use of cannabis and 14 states and Washington DC recognize that cannabis is medicine. Therefore, it is mis-scheduled as "Schedule 1- having "no accepted medical use" and should be re-scheduled!

So why is this sick man supposed to risk his health to satisfy Alabama's antiquated (and racially-based) laws? Please learn the medical facts about this amazing healing herb! It's time for Alabama to get out of the 1930s! Educate yourself! Thank you.

re: Alabama Marijuana Patient

The USA is a crazy place.  It was 1998 when I got off the plane at a Minnesota airport, and two minutes after setting foot in the airport I was pulled out of the line for immigration by officers with guns, and handcuffed and locked in a small room. The immigration officials told me that this was because I had been convicted in England in 1983 of supplying my student friends with marijuana (we call it cannabis). They then tested every bit of lint and dust in my suitcase, and they came back into the room I was locked in with about 25 test-tubes each containing a speck of dust in solution, and said that one of them had tested positive for marijuana. They fined me $3,000 for possession of marijuana, and sent me back to England on the next plane. I am now banned from entering the USA. I am a doctor of psychology, and I work with drug addicts. In the UK - in any part, any county - possession of a small amount of marijuana is now dealt with by a warning from the police officer and confiscation of the marijuana - they then let you go, and you don't get a criminal record (at least the first time).  This means the cops get free pot to smoke, and we don't get criminalized for a victimless crime. Britain is absolutely saturated with drugs, and I guess they had to give up somewhat on the marijuana. You can keep your crazy country, I feel much safer here.


I've traveled a lot in my life, and I realize the laws and views outside of the US are drastically different on cannabis than here in the states.  I'm totally not surprised that some donkey of a supervisor decided to pick you out for something that happened years and years before AND that you already were 'punished' for.  Only in the US do we blindly accept what's being thrown at us and continue to regurgitate it without any understanding as to "why".  And I'm fairly certain at no point during that search did he think "is it really worth it to fuck this guys life over a spec of dust?.." - Instead, he probably sang the national anthem in his head while his flask of cheap whiskey jiggled against the prescription of untested pain killers in his uniform pocket.

I'm really sorry that you aren't allowed back in the country, but I also don't think you're missing much. Who really wants to live in a police state? ... there's good reason your police force didn't carry guns for so many years.  Scare tactics cant fool educated people forever.

McD's picture

The Waiting Game

"No, it will not happen tomorrow, or next week or even next year.  This process takes time..."

How long would you like us to wait? I first felt the need to use cannabis in 1977. Only recently, however, did I discover I was seeking self-medication, in much the same way as a cat will seek out and eat grasses to settle its stomach and/or make itself vomit. Then I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1988. Then I waited another twenty years. Then I gave up waiting. I've spent more than thirty years waiting. I've given that time, which isn't like money - time can't be replaced, for no good reason; just quality of life sacrificed for the sake of waiting. How much longer do you think I should have waited?

All this talk of lives wasted goes beyond prison time. Society's collective quality of life has been considerably reduced for nearly half a century as a direct result of including cannabis in the 1961 UN Narcotics (Yes, somehow the Americans actually managed to bully the UN into including cannabis in a narcotics convention.) Convention. Those responsible used fear and ignorance to entrench themselves into what has now (at long last) been exposed as an entirely untenable position. They've had their fun. It's time to get out of the way and let social evolution continue unhindered now.

I fear that we

 Are going to be in real trouble very soon if we don't get the war ended soon . We are going to have to fight a generation that has been raised on so many lies that they are never going to even listen to the truth about drugs.

I have inlaw's that cannot even talk about the subject , they are members of the DEA now ? The lies are going to be very hard to break , because the people are truly brainwashed . They are the same people that are willing to release a known sex offender to lock this guy up for 10 years. They don't really get it , 5 years after the release of these people children go missing and we hold our hands in the air in disbelief .

We must end this WAR soon.

It's a weird weird world

I know he's probably talking about Gabapentin.(Anti parkinsonian)I was started on 600 mgms a day and now they give me 4800 a day.It worked for me for a month or so and from then on I have no idea if it's doing anything or not.It's supposed to work in conjunction with pain killers but this guy doesn't seem to want to go that route.I'm a long time opiate addict and am always astounded by people that prefer marijuana to an opiate,especially for something like PTSD.I think they're afraid it'll depress them more.Different strokes I guess.I've figured out one thing in 40 + years of drug use and abuse of all kinds and that's that the medical community is totally clueless when it comes to drugs and how they work.They aren't taught and most of them have no desire to know.They basically believe what they're told and most of that is that addicts are manipulative liars and opiates are a drug of last resort.Except in states where marijuana is illegal.There it would seem that pot is the most evil drug on the planet.Like I said,They believe what they're told and have no desire to learn the truth.Why is this guy refusing to take the suspended sentence and probation and just head back to California?Is Alabama so spiteful that they'd revoke his probation and have him returned?I doubt California would asceed to any request from 'bama for an extradition under these circumstances.I think he might find an opiate a decent option but doctors can be really stingy with this kind of treatment and like any drug if you don't get the proper dose you won't get the right result.That's one thing I've found with doctors that prescribe marijuana.They pretty much leave the dose to the patient.I think this guy is confused and worrying about things he has no control over.What difference does it make if he is subject to urinalysis in Alabama if he's going back to California?I'm sure his lawyer could arrange for him to return to California after sentencing as long as he stays there for the duration of the suspended sentence and probation.If not,just return to California after court and have his lawyer send him instructions on when,if ever he can return.There has to be a solution as the prosecution has already offered a result that excludes prison.His only problem would be if he we unable to leave Alabama and I can't imagine that being a problem.


Those who oppose Medicinal Cannabis should be really ashamed of themselves. There were several scientific studies published just recently that confirmed Cannabis effectiveness in such diverse conditions as chronic pain, muscle spasms, malnutrition and glaucoma. Just a couple of days ago the media, including "USA Today", published a study that Cannabis may relieve chronic pain even when other drugs don't. This is extremely important for our wounded veterans, many of whom have chronic pain, and even chronic "neuropathic" pain, for which Medicinal Cannabis was found to be especially effective! Cannabis is also being shown by the most current addiction medicine research as a potential "exit" substance for former alcoholics, hard drug or even prescription drug abusers to help them stay off those substances. A very recent study just published called the so-called "gateway drug" theory "half-baked". I simply always called it a fantasy. Both the American Medical Association and the Institute of Medicine are in favor of Medicinal Cannabis, and the Canadian Government even pays for this natural remedy for their veterans! There is growing evidence that Cannabis may help prevent such disastrous conditions as cancer and Alzheimer's disease, and a very recent study just published denies any connection between smoking Cannabis and the risk for lung cancer! According to the prestigious Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook, 4-th Edition, Cannabis use suppresses violent behavior and "only the unsophisticated" think otherwise. Everybody agrees as well that Cannabis is much safer than alcohol! It is also much safer than many dangerous, physically addictive prescription drugs, such as opiates or benzodiazepines.What we all need to do is reject baseless, anti-scientific scare tactics of the "opponents" and pass the Medicinal Cannabis legislation all across the Nation, and on the Federal level! This will require giving up certain "dogmas", but this is how progress is made!


 Stories like this just make me sick. There is something very wrong with the pot laws and I doubt it will ever change. I live in southwest Iowa. Years ago, farmers were paid to grow hemp in this area.  There is so much pot still growing wild here I could show you dozens of places where you could fill a semi truck  full and never get all that pot. Some of this weed (if you know what you are looking for) is very good quality, while most of it is not, but it is still illegal in Iowa . The cops know it is there, and they drive right past it every day and do nothing about TONS of illegal pot growing in fields, and on the sides of almost every road . A good example of this is on Interstate 29 at the 41 mile marker, just south of Council Bluffs. There is a ton of pot growing there that is less than 20 feet from the road on state property. If I had that much growing on my property, I would be arrested and in prison for up to 20 years for cultivation. I know of many places around here that look the same and some with more pot than you have ever seen. It is crazy. My main gripe is, if I were to go harvest some of it, and got caught doing so, I would be arrested and charged with 'manufacturing a controlled substance'. Jail time, fines, mandatory drug rehab, and probation would follow if convicted  for picking the weed that grows freely in almost every field and road in this part of the state. I see it as total BS that the cops/ state of Iowa, will allow the pot to thrive, and grow everywhere, but not do anything to get rid of it while they jail people everyday, all over the country for having as little as a gram in their pocket. I'd like to see those Alabama redneck cops up here, sweating their ass off cutting down tons and tons of wild pot on a hot August day just to keep it out of the hands of people that really need to be smoking it. Those cops could cut down pot plants for a solid month and never make a dent in just how much pot is growing here. I do not know of any other state that allows pot to grow wild by the tons, and not do anything about it other than arrest people for any amount of possession. If you have more than one bag on you, they will bust you for selling it. This is total BS !   As for Michael, I am very sorry that you are going through such a senseless, horrible time over just one gram of pot that was ok for you to have. Maybe one day the laws will change, but I doubt it will in our lifetime. Take care Michael, our prayers are with you.

wild weed

those Iowa po-po are just waiting for some dumb ass to go in and try to harvest it so that they can all give them selves a big pat on the back and say Well Done!!  We took more of that sinful weed out of the hands of criminals!  Well Done I say!!  It will happen around election time, just like here in PA.  The drug bust's, dui, and all other arrests increase right before an election so that the jails are full and the law looks good to these mushroom's and they then vote the organized gang members back into office.  For instance, the D.A. for this county rents apartments to known burglar's and drug dealers.  He was also found innocent of the charge of rape and get this, he did do the crime and here is the worst part ~ in the court house in his office.  how the D.A. ever got elected here I'll never know.  This D.A. has 2 felony assault charges against him for beating the hell out of two seniors at a football game.  he attacked them because he was drunk off his ass and they were cheering for the other team.  one of the seniors was a woman in her late sixties and he knocked her down then repeatedly bashed her head off of the concrete steps until she was unconscious.  the older man tried to help the woman and the D.A. then turned on him and beat the shit out of him and knocked him down the steps. our fine D.A. put both of them in the hospital with serious injuries.  this happened in Philadelphia.  he some how got elected here and his campaign was that he will clean this town up with his law expertise and extensive knowledge of big city crime and how to catch criminals.  yeah, believe it. The state police do what they want, a friend of mine was burglarized by to young men.  the neighbor saw them breaking in and called the owners uncle who lived near by.  when the uncle arrived and yelled in the broken door, the two punks ran out the back door, one went on the mt. across the street and the other ran to his house ~ next door. yeah it was my friends punk neighbor and his friend is the one that rent's off of the D.A..  the uncle detained the one that ran up the mt. by shooting his tire out when he returned to his get away car that was parked on the uncles ground.  the punk tried to run the uncle over and the uncle shot out his tire.  the punk then drove down the road a ways and pulled into a driveway yelling for help.  little did he know (and heres the kicker) the punk pulled into the uncles brother-in-laws driveway.  bad day for the punk.  when the cops finally arrived the punk the uncle caught told the state police that they broke in for drugs and guns.  the cops that were at my friends house asked his other uncle that was there for permission to enter and the uncle said no it is not my house.  they then asked the other uncle (he showed up a few min after the first uncle to help) for permission and was denied entry again.  now keep in mind this is almost two hours after the initial break in. the uncle that caught the first punk and the neighbor that saw the punks break in told the state police REPEATEDLY that the other punk was next door at his parents house.  they said that they saw them run out the back door and that that's where he IS.  the police did not care about that, they wanted the drugs.  they (the 2 cops at my friends house) AFTER being denied entry TWICE, reached in through the broken window of the door and went in.  they found what they wanted and THEN called for a search warrant.  once my friend arrived from WORK he was then DETAINED, but not marandised or arrested.  they made him wait out in the cold (it was January) till the warrant arrived.  while they were waiting for the warrant (3 hours now into this circus) they all went inside to "talk" (my friend and the cops) and while inside, being  intimidated, questioned, harassed, bullied and watching his house be ransacked (with out a warrant still) needless to say the stress of it all made him go into a low blood sugar event and he asked for some orange juice from his fridge.  the one fine officer said no you cannot get into your fridge because you probably have a gun in there.  the other  officer said to let him get the juice.  what fuckers!  (sorry, but they are).  they continued this treatment until the warrant finally arrived and then the state police being the drug hero's they are cataloged all of the items and then left giving my friend advise on not to leave the county or state and that someone would be in contact with him.  HE WAS NOT ARRESTED AT THAT TIME.  my friend is a type 1 insulin dependent diabetic and has a host of problems one being glaucoma.  my friend has lost and regained his sight twice AND through the use of cannabis gained some of it back.  the first punk knew my friend had the weed because the neighbor punk sold it to my friend two (2) days before and i testified to witnessing the transaction.  Yeah the only "gang" in my town is the state po-po and the D.A. needless to say my friend was found guilty on three charges, manufacturing, possession, and paraphernalia.  my friend's attorney was not allowed to introduce evidence that the cops entered WITHOUT a search warrant nor were any of the witness allowed to testify to that.  he was also not allowed to claim "medical use" because it is still illegal in PA.  the evidence that he (my friend) has no prior criminal record was not admissible either. it was a effin joke.  our fine upstanding and "impartial" judge gave his mother (my friend) a $500.00 contempt of court fine because she said that cannabis is legal in 14 states as well as D.C..  he threw her out of the court room for the rest of the trial.  the D.A. was not allowed to try the case because of a conflict of interest. (the D.A. was renting to the one punk at the time) things that make ya go hummm?  they brought in an A.G. from Pittsburgh and he just smashed any hope for my friend to get a fair trial.  he will be sentenced this november 8th and at that time he can appeal to the supreme court where hopefully it will be thrown out based on the illegal search and seizure.  i mean really?  what the fuck kind of country are we living in?  The president will be in Philadelphia October 10, 2010 and there is a huge pro cannabis rally planned for the event.  I WILL BE THERE!!   any one who can be there SHOULD!.  What happened to my friend can happen to ANYONE at ANY TIME and IT NEED'S TO FUCKING END!

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