Bonnie Dumanis Anti-Medical Cannabis Campaign Continues

by on February 13, 2012 · 16 comments

in Civil Rights, Health, Popular, San Diego

Medical marijuana patient in unambiguous compliance with state law, faces second prosecution attempt by San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. Jury selection begins Feb. 14.

By Eugene Davidovich / San Diego ASA / Feb. 9, 2012

In the summer of 2009, Benjamin Gasper, along with two other seriously ill medical marijuana patients rented a warehouse space in the Sports Arena area of San Diego, a heavily commercial district far from residences and other “sensitive uses,” and began to collectively cultivate medical marijuana for personal medical needs.

All three members of the collective, as court documents have shown, signed an agreement in which they entered into a contract to “associate collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes.”

The agreement went as far as stating that “all members of our medical marijuana collective will contribute labor, funds, or materials, and all will receive medicine.”

In later court proceedings both patient members of the collective cultivation effort testified that they did in fact contribute funds, materials, and their labor to the effort.

In November of 2009 a month after the 9/9/9 mass eradication sweep of dispensaries in San Diego championed by DA Bonnie Dumanis, her office decided to target all legal cultivation efforts in the county including Gasper’s.

Gasper’s warehouse was raided under the guise of conducting a “safety check.” According to the officers on the scene, they believed a burglary might be taking place because the front warehouse roll up gate was slightly ajar. After entering the facility without Gasper’s permission and searching the premises for more than thirty minutes, they happened on the entrance to the cultivation room which was completely isolated and sealed off from the main part of the warehouse.

Upon discovering and rummaging through the patient garden, even though the collective agreement, doctor’s statements and ID’s for all the members were present on site, the officers still arrested and charged Gasper with illegal cultivation of marijuana, an action completely legal under state law.

As with most medical marijuana cases, Dumanis hoped that Gasper would agree to a plea bargain giving her another notch in her prosecutorial belt. To her surprise Gasper refused. He demanded a fair jury trial and reached out to San Diego Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the local chapter of the nation’s largest medical marijuana patient’s rights advocacy group for assistance with the case.

Bahar Ansari, a criminal defense attorney and board member of San Diego ASA took on Gasper’s case pro-Bono. After months of arguments and motions in June of 2010, at a 995 hearing, Ms. Ansari was able to get all the charges dismissed.

This enraged Dumanis, and in line with her ‘fierce fight’ against patients and commitment to waste precious law enforcement resources on investigating and prosecuting these cases; the charges were re-filled and an entirely new case started.

For the second trial, Melissa Bobrow another criminal defense attorney and San Diego ASA board member joined the case.

Almost two years after the initial arrest, on Thursday, February 9, 2012, the second attempt to prosecute Benjamin Gasper, a legal medical marijuana patient officially entered the trial stage of the court process.

Having been assigned to Judge Michael Smyth’s courtroom in department 50 of San Diego Superior Court, Ms. Bobrow introduced and argued several motions to dismiss. The motions were based on vagueness of the law, due process, interest of justice, etc; all motions were denied.

Ms. Bobrow also argued that the prosecutor’s witness Detective Boyce was not qualified as a medical marijuana expert and should not be allowed to testify at trial. She cited that his training and experience which is primarily related to the illegal use of cannabis does not make him an medical expert. Judge Smyth denied this motion as well.

Even though an overwhelming amount of evidence was presented that Gasper was in fact collectively cultivating cannabis leaving the only point of contention, whether the amount was reasonable for the patients’ conditions, the DA still aggressively argued that he not be allowed to present to the jury the medical marijuana cultivation defense entitled to him under state law.

These clear attempts to subvert defendants’ right to a fair trial were prevalent throughout all of the prosecution’s arguments.

At one point during the hearing, Judge Smyth without making a formal ruling, foreshadowed that in light of the overwhelming evidence, Gasper would likely be allowed to present a defense as well as testimony from a cannabis cultivation expert at trial, another right the prosecution was trying to deny.

The proceedings continue tomorrow, February 10, 2012 at 9:30am in Department 50 (San Diego Superior Court 220 W. Broadway). That morning Ms. Bobrow will have an opportunity to question Detective Boyce and his medical expertise as well as present arguments against the prosecution being allowed to present him as a medical expert.

Jury selection is expected to begin on Tuesday, February 14th , with the trial expected to last for at least a week and a half.

Medical marijuana patients, supporters, and community advocates are outraged at Dumanis’ incessant efforts to subvert state law on this issue and have vowed to expose her true position on medical marijuana despite her misleading statements which she claims she supports patients and their right to safe and reasonable access to cannabis therapeutics.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar John Galt February 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm

If only Bonnie would just get out of the way!!! What the hell is her problem….she must be a closet smoker that is ashamed of her use of cannabis. Bonnie, get a life and stop wasting the cities money, if you haven’t noticed, the city is broke!!!

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Actually, she is mainly using the County’s money; she’s the District Attorney of SD County. Although arrests for misdemeanor pot busts use the City’s.

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avatar John Galt February 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Yes, you are correct, just replace city with county, state, nation, their all on the road to “broke-ness” by the hand of these grotesque little atavists!

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avatar hank pfeffer February 13, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Come on, Ms. Dumanis. We might not be lawyers, but we are not fools.

What’s in it for you?

Why deny the city tax money when we can’t even afford schools any more?

You want to be mayor?

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avatar OB Mercy February 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Conservative DA, conservative judge, conservative city, county, whatever. Did you really expect anything else? Dumanis is DESPICABLE.

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avatar johnny1 February 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm

When cancer strikes these prohibitionist WILL become martyrs.

Cant they recall this witch? sue everyone involved

NOT GUILTY!!! I WISH I GET JURY DUTY

REMINDS ME OF THOSE PHONY CHILDMOLESTER CASES
THESE NANCY-NONO’S are trying to dismantle prop215 sb420

good luck to these victims of BD

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avatar Bently Hathaway February 14, 2012 at 3:54 am

To do what she’s does would make me afraid to live in California surrounded by all you angry pot heads!

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avatar Goatskull February 14, 2012 at 8:51 am

Are the angry pot heads in California different that the angry pot heads in what ever state you live in? And don’t tell me there’s no angry pot heads in your state.

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avatar I took Psychology 101 at Mesa! February 14, 2012 at 9:51 am

There is nothing more desperate and dangerous than a self-loathing woman who is not in touch with her own anger issues. She then strikes out at those who she considers beneath her or vulnerable in an attempt to mitigate her own personal distress and anxiety.

I believe that could be Bonnie Dumanis. Growing up in a rigid, New England, repressive home life with a stern and cold cop father, Bonnie was clueless about reality from the beginning. As she made her way along in life, this constant need to keep her true feelings in check turned her into a hard, bitter woman. She is distrustful of men and lashes out at heterosexual females by picking on them specifically to persecute for their interest in the opposite sex. It is no secret the D.A. finds hereto women to be “lacking in integrity” and goes out of her way to go after single moms–Bonnie’s most vulnerable victim–because they often have no mate or significant other to watch their children, if they don’t plead out to a case to avoid jail time. Thus that bogus “94% conviction rate” is based on the backs of the poor, needy, and ill unfortunate among us.

Her self-loathing persona has brought tragedy and trauma to San Diego’s medical marijuana community, and it all comes down to this “public official” being so out-of-touch with herself, the community, and I would also say–reality, that she has become a burden to herself and self-destructive as a politician. I am so grateful to my dad for paying my way through college so I can now offer this psychological advice about Bonnie free to the good people of the OB Rag! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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avatar Goatskull February 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Maybe, or simply she cares about making a name for her as a public office holder and advancing her career and doesn’t care about anyone else. Sounds pretty typical of people who wield this kind of power regardless of their political leanings, sexual preference, etc.

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avatar why February 20, 2012 at 6:56 pm

She is an obstructionist to the will of the people, a law made legal by the vote of the people. She should be fired…

She is as bad as the GOP obstructionists who refuse to cooperate with our bone-fide duly elected president.

I may be wrong, but I am guessing she is republican neoCon. I could be wrong, but she is acting like one… in any case, she should be fired….

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avatar herb folks February 21, 2012 at 8:22 am

Thanks for taking the lead in helping Mr. Gaspar. We, the Herb Folks, were first contacted by his mom, while he was still in jail, asking for help. I personally forwarded the email to ASA & the now defunct San Diego NORML or whatever the exact name was, no matter, it was a diversion (the ’09 incarnation run by Craig B). We posted his mom’s email on our websites (including SanDiegoHerb.com) informing the community of his plight. ASA stepped up, NORML & Craig did nothing. Here we are a couple years later. Blessings upon all who love the magic plant and its people.

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avatar herb folks February 21, 2012 at 8:30 am

please excuse the typo, Mr. Gasper (OB Rag’s site does not allow for edits/corrections). Hang in there! Also, you all need to be aware of the fact Ms. Dumanis is not the problem she is a symptom of the nazi-mindset governing local/regional politics, the pimple on the boil which is the new DMZ on the border with Mexico Ablaze. http://theholyherb.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1062:the-dmz&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=75

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avatar Christopher Moore February 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm

No fan of Bonnie either, but why do we give Obama a pass on this?:
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/obamas-war-on-pot-20120216
As someone back to spending half my days incapacitated with crippling nausea again since the dispensaries closed down, I’m pretty fed up with the President’s gutless cave in on this issue.

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avatar herb folks February 21, 2012 at 1:56 pm

never give him (Obama) or anybody else who abuses us because of a plant a break. Never. Obama’s sordid history with the truth, regarding cannabis, medical or recreational, is well documented. Our proper response is not so much…http://theholyherb.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=498:tell-dont-ask&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=75

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avatar OB Mercy February 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Christopher, why are you suffering needlessly? Most of the dispensaries that closed down are delivering. Try weedmaps.com

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