#368 California Patient Caught In The War On Medical Marijuana

Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2008
Subject: #368 California Patient Caught In The War On Medical Marijuana


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DrugSense FOCUS Alert #368 – Tuesday, 24 Jun 2008

Orange County is considered to be among the most conservative in
California. The Orange County Register is the county’s major
newspaper. Over the years the newspaper has supported in editorials
and columns California’s Proposition 215.

Last Saturday the newspaper printed the article below. In addition to
the article, the newspaper’s website is currently conducting an
opinion poll titled “Should marijuana be legal?” and providing a
discussion forum about the article. If you wish to vote in the poll
and/or place a comment in the forum please go to:


Please also consider sending a Letter to the Editor to The Orange
County Register expressing your reaction to the article.

Thanks for your effort and support. It’s not what others do it’s what
YOU do.


Pubdate: Sat, 21 Jun 2008
Source: Orange County Register, The (CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Orange County Register
Contact: letters@ocregister.com
Author: Eugene W. Fields, The Orange County Register


Charles Monson, a Quadriplegic, Had His Home Raided and His Medicinal
Marijuana Seized at Gunpoint.

A swimming accident three decades ago at Newport Beach left Charles
Monson paralyzed.

A drug raid at his home about a year ago left Monson without the
marijuana he says he needs. The raid has left him depending on a
medical marijuana dispensary in Orange that was also raided. Fighting
to stay in business, the small store-front dispensary has helped
Monson deal with his pain.

Monson, 45, was paralyzed in 1979 when he and a friend decided to go
for a swim. “I dove under a wave, hit a shallow spot and broke my
neck,” Monson recalls. “I was paralyzed instantly and was floating

Monson, who is confined to a wheelchair and has lost most of the use
of his hands, tried to remain active. He’s an avid skydiver, despite
breaking his legs twice

Nevertheless, he says he lives in constant pain and

“My brain isn’t able to constantly able to monitor the muscles in my
legs,” he says. “Any little stimulus like being touched or moving my
wheelchair or sitting still for a while and then moving will trigger a
muscle spasm, big ones, that will yank my body to the side.”

As a result, Monson was chronically sleep-deprived to the point of
falling asleep behind the wheel of his specially equipped van. Doctors
prescribed muscle relaxants and various other seizure medications, but
Monson says he didn’t like the side effects.

Finds Relief

“I had tried Valium, Baclofen, Gabapentin. That gave me a sense of not
being sharp in my mind and just feeling kind of woozy,” Monson says.
“I tried Marinol, which is synthetic marijuana. It’s very hard to
dose. It’s either not very effective, or when it gets to the point of
being effective, you’re loopy.”

Monson says a friend recommended marijuana in the 1980s and after
trying it, he said he found relief: “I smoked it in bed and I slept
better than I ever had. The other thing that makes cannabis so much
more effective than any other of the spasticity drugs is that it
allows me rather than just treating my spasticity to manage it.”

When California voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996, which allowed
marijuana usage for medicinal purposes, Monson says he started to grow

Monson says his life changed dramatically on the morning of October
30, 2007. “I wake up to a horrendously loud pounding on the front door
at 7 a.m. in the morning,” Monson says. “My friend said it was the
police and I told him to let them in.”

Monson says a dozen Orange police officers armed with assault rifles
and bullet-proof vests swarmed into his modest home and handcuffed
both his house guest and care provider before coming into Monson’s
bedroom, demanding he get out of bed.

“I told them I couldn’t so they uncuffed my care provider,” Monson
says. “He got me dressed and into the chair and then they (police)
went about ransacking my house.”

Monson says he used a spare bedroom to cultivate his marijuana plants,
where a sign posted on the door read that the plants were for
medicinal purposes.

The police entered the room and, according to Monson, confiscated 16
plants and roughly 2-1/2 ounces of marijuana.

“I told them I was growing it legally and they said it’s against
federal law,” Monson says. “They came down on me like I was some drug

Sgt. Dan Adams of the Orange Police Department says 19 plants were
seized and Monson was arrested for felony cultivation of marijuana,
theft of utilities, sales of marijuana and conspiracy.

“When you get 19 plants and you get a full-blown irrigation system and
a light system, it was obviously a substantial operation he had
running there,” Adams said. “It’s a good amount, but anything is a
good amount because it’s illegal as far as law enforcement is concerned.”

The District Attorney’s office declined to prosecute the

“The first month after the raid, I couldn’t sleep well,” Monson said.
“Finally, it occurred to me that I was having a post-traumatic effect
because I didn’t know when they were going to bang down my door again.”

Searching for Marijuana

Fearful of growing marijuana, Monson turned to other

“I had to go to people a buy it. None of them have ever been touched
by the police,” he says. “I don’t know why they came after me.
Somebody thought I was a king-pin.”

In December, Monson hired an attorney and decided to file a civil suit
against the city. Four months later he read about Nature’s Wellness, a
dispensary on Lincoln Avenue in Orange that had been raided.

Monson said he visited with Bob Adams, the dispensary owner, to share
information about his case. Monson said he worked out a deal to
receive half of the two ounces of marijuana he needs a month to manage
his condition.

Adams, who was detained by the Drug Enforcement Agency after his shop
was raided in March, says he was just providing a service to another
patient with a doctor’s recommendation.

“This man needs medicine and I’ve got it,” Adams says. “That’s what
I’m here for.”

Adams says hearing about Monson’s arrest upset him.

“We’ve got a quadriplegic here. It’s amazing that he wakes up every
morning,” Adams says. “Don’t we have better things to do as far as our
local authorities are concerned than chase around a quadriplegic
that’s in pain?”

Monson says he was grateful for the aid from the dispensary and is
waiting for his court case to move ahead.

“I probably won’t (grow) until that whole thing is settled with the
police,” he says. “I don’t want a decent garden going again, just to
have it taken away.”


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