DA dumps medical pot driver charges

January 23, 2013

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

images-1All charges facing a cooperative’s medical cannabis delivery driver have been tossed out by the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office despite efforts by some sheriff’s narcotics detectives to pursue felony prosecution.

Chance Everett Simmons, an employee of Ethnobotanica Patients Collective, was arrested Jan. 5 in Oceano after a sheriff’s deputy’s traffic stop for a cracked windshield on his vehicle.

When Simmons admitted he was transporting cannabis products and after consenting to a search of his vehicle, the deputy contacted detectives for guidance, according to the arrest report. He was then ordered to take Simmons into custody.

Charges were dropped Tuesday following discussions between Ethnobotonica’s  attorney, Louis Koory of San Luis Obispo, and sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials.

Medical cannabis cooperatives are legal under California law, and as a result all of the medicines, products, and cash being transported by Simmons will be returned to him under an order issued Tuesday by San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge John Trice. Trice’s order said in part, “Good cause exists to return the property as the case has been dismissed and the property has no evidentiary value.”

Simmons was facing multiple felony charges of possession of marijuana for sale and possession of concentrated cannabis.

Ryan Booker, executive director of the Ethnobotanica collective, said Simmons was engaged in lawful activity at the time of his arrest, delivering physician-recommended cannabis to some of the collective’s 1,000 patients.

“The passage of the Medical Marijuana Program Act in 2003 exempted medical cannabis collectives and collective members from criminal sanctions under California Health and Safety Code 11357 and 11359,” Booker said.


39 Comments

  1. The Gimlet Eye says:

    Stop the “Drug War” against the American people now!

    Your drug war at work: St. Paul, Minnesota cops stomp a man’s head, then fire a flash grenade at his disabled mother curing a cocaine raid. She suffered third-degree burns. They found three grams of pot and a legal handgun. Taxpayers, not the cops, will pay the two a $400,000 settlement.

    http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_21941479/st-paul-pays-record-tying-400k-settle-police

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  2. The Gimlet Eye says:

    A similar situation from the local area:

    Part One in new News-Press DUI series

    By PETER LANCE SPECIAL TO THE NEWS-PRESS

    October 3, 2012 6:23 AM

    First of five parts

    October 3, 2012

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” That’s how Charles Dickens opened his epic novel of turmoil in England and France on the brink of revolution. In 1775 those two crime-ridden capitals couldn’t have been more different and yet more alike.

    Today two cities exist in the state of California only 90 miles apart. Both are governed by identical drunken driving laws and yet their treatment of police officers suspected of committing the identical crimes of perjury and filing false statements couldn’t be more different.

    In each case, investigations were commenced when drivers, suspected by the police of driving under the influence were pulled over, subjected to field sobriety tests and then arrested. In each case, the charges were dropped as a result of police conduct. And in each case the arresting officer who filed the police report was a decorated DUI cop having won awards from Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

    The difference is that in Los Angeles, LAPD officers Craig Allen and Phillip Walters are facing charges punishable by up to four years and eight months in state prison, while in Santa Barbara, as far as the public knows, Officer Kasi Beutel has never been suspended, cited or subjected to any misconduct proceedings.

    She remains on the job and in uniform – and on Jan. 28, she was promoted to beat coordinator.

    Further, she has received nothing but praise or support from the police chief and multiple officials including the District Attorney’s Office, three Superior Court judges, and the city attorney.

    Still, the state Department of Insurance is considering evidence that Officer Beutel may have committed worker’s compensation fraud based on separate claims in 2009 and 2011, and a $12,000 study funded by the city into allegations of misconduct by Officer Beutel has been kept secret. So, in order to get some perspective into the findings that prompted the city to spend that money, those two contrasting DUI cases are worth studying.

    C:\Users\Martin\Desktop\CONSPIRACIES\POLICE CORRUPTION\Part One in new News-Press DUI series Peter Lance.htm

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  3. Booty JuJu says:

    This makes perfect sense, the nature of the beast and actually a sign of forward progress.

    The War On Drugs is a war on our own citizens carried out by law enforcement for which they are highly compensated. Highly compensated. They will be the last people to give up the golden goose no matter what the people, the politicians, the courts, or the law requires. They don’t give a shit.

    The people have spoken in favor of legalized weed, the politicians have conceded to this reality, the courts have upheld it, and the CA Attorney General has issued guidelines for street level handling of these cases. All have been summarily ignored by the financially incentivized law enforcement community. This case is actually good news if the DA is in fact facing reality and will be refusing to prosecute these phony cases moving forward. This will leave local PD’s and Sheriffs completely isolated, which is the perverse natural progression of extracting ourselves from this war on our children and taxpaying, law abiding citizens.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

    • The Gimlet Eye says:

      Well said, Booty JuJu, well said.

      Consider this as well:

      Why Police Lie Under Oath

      (excerpt):

      “Police departments have been rewarded in recent years for the sheer numbers of stops, searches and arrests. In the war on drugs, federal grant programs like the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program have encouraged state and local law enforcement agencies to boost drug arrests in order to compete for millions of dollars in funding. Agencies receive cash rewards for arresting high numbers of people for drug offenses, no matter how minor the offenses or how weak the evidence. Law enforcement has increasingly become a numbers game. And as it has, police officers’ tendency to regard procedural rules as optional and to lie and distort the facts has grown as well. Numerous scandals involving police officers lying or planting drugs — in Tulia, Tex. and Oakland, Calif., for example — have been linked to federally funded drug task forces eager to keep the cash rolling in.

      THE pressure to boost arrest numbers is not limited to drug law enforcement. Even where no clear financial incentives exist, the “get tough” movement has warped police culture to such a degree that police chiefs and individual officers feel pressured to meet stop-and-frisk or arrest quotas in order to prove their “productivity.”

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/opinion/sunday/why-police-officers-lie-under-oath.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&pagewanted=all&

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  4. smartmouth says:

    The deputy should pay, out of his own pocket, all costs associated with this arrest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  5. Gordo says:

    I have been told the police report actually states that the narcotics detectives told the deputy who stopped the deliveryman NOT to arrest him, but the deputy did it anyway. Maybe Mr. Blackburn could contact Lou Koory and ask if that detail is true, I know Lou has the report. I would hate to see all the deputies condemed because some idiot did not do what he was told.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    • Here’s what happened, according to the sheriff’s own report: the deputy called Sgt. Keith Scott, who then contacted veteran Det. Nick Fontecchio. It was Fontecchio, an old-timer on the narcotics squad, who ordered the felony arrest.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

      • bummerforu says:

        Keith Scott is a Crook! He took down the dispensary in Morro Bay and he will take down everyone involved in the cause. He left the “all hippies die” note at the CCCC and is one of the worst emplyees employed by the sherrifs department!! Steve Blank went to LA got a fake Rec with his fake ID or is his name Steve Blank?? The sheriffs department is out of control! They are doing more illegal moves than anyone involved in the movement!! Get out Keith Scott go work for the DEA like you have been trying to do. Take your black ass and your Mercedes back where you came from!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

        • The Gimlet Eye says:

          If true, then he should be fired. And then somebody needs to sue him, drag him into court, and plaster him with accusations from which he will never recover.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

      • Gordo says:

        I don’t know either of these deputies you mentioned, but I was told the narcotics detective told the deputy to not make the arrest. I have not seen the report, but my source said it was the sheriffs who asked the case not be filed after they talked to Lou about the circumstances. Maybe my source has it wrong, I guess we will find out if a civil suit is filed, that will make the police report a public document.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      • standup says:

        Fontecchio can go join Rodney John in the middle east if he wants to continue this pattern of civil rights abuse. It is a shame that these guys look at wasting our tax dollars as part of their job. It appear to be embezzlement in my eyes. Plain and simple ripping off the tax payers.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    • The Gimlet Eye says:

      How about the police en masse, just refuse to make any more drug arrests?

      Stop the “Drug War” against the American people now!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  6. WiseGuy says:

    Between all the false arrests and brutality cases, it is more obvious than ever that SLO County Sheriff’s Deputies need better training. I’ve been saying this for years. Way too many Sheriff Deputy screw-ups in the recent past make my case.

    Sheriff Parkinson needs to keep working hard to air out the awful stink that accumulated under the “leadership” of the previous two Sheriffs.

    But to be fair, most law enforcement personnel in California are not adequately trained.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  7. MaryMalone says:

    This needs to be heard by the Supremes. This is a states rights v. fed rights issue and, as much as I support legalization, regulation and taxing the sales of MJ, this is the reality under which we live: it is currently against federal law to grow, own or use MJ.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  8. danika says:

    CCN? Can you find out the indentities of all the LEOs who gave this arrest the thumbs up? Not sure if it’s public info or not but I understand many people would be interested to know this info.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

    • danika says:

      Here is specific info in regards to the exemption of liability for LEOs in such cases:

      http://www.ag.ca.gov/cms_attachments/press/pdfs/n1601_medicalmarijuanaguidelines.pdf

      7. …State law enforcement officers who handle controlled substances in the
      course of their official duties are immune from liability under the CSA. (21 U.S.C.
      § 885(d).) Once the marijuana is returned, federal authorities are free to exercise
      jurisdiction over it. (21 U.S.C. §§ 812(c)(10), 844(a); City of Garden Grove v.
      Superior Court (Kha) (2007) 157 Cal.App.4th 355, 369, 386, 391.)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      • standup says:

        The guidelines actually explain what individuals must due to be in compliance (mandated through 420) even though “they don’t mean shit” to out local narcos. GG vs Superior Court all came about when Kha wanted to get his 1/4 oz. of legal medicine back and the cops wouldn’t give it to him. That ruling in a nutshell actually puts forth that is not the job of local law enforcement to enforce federal law. This ruling is what has allowed many folks to get their property back. It has also allowed for lawsuits against jurisdictions for ruining property (plants).

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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