I was a leader in the Mormon Church and a single mother of three when I found medical marijuana. It saved my life. I had been suffering from an injury related migraine that lasted most of two years. I was a closet activist for a few years until my children grew up. I’ve been public and very active for at least 6 years. I was arrested twice for cannabis cultivation. The second time was personal. It’s clear I ran into a cop that hated marijuana. What I didn’t know was how much.
How It Began
I knew Detective Carlborg was coming back for me. He was at the first raid where a family squabble turned into an unexpected call to the cops and my first arrest. I felt it deep within my soul, kind of like when an earthquake hits and you know it's going to be a big one. You don't know why you know. You just do. I was in court for the forth time, I think. I was arrested in 2010 and was still in shock since I never dreamed it would happen to me. My attorney, Walter was filing the motion to continue. He went out into the hall to talk to one of the DA's. I was sitting 2 rows behind the DA’s. The one that seemed to be in charge was sitting down directly in front of me. She was about 100 pounds over weight. I mention that because it seemed to be a thing between her and the cop that was there to testify against me. His attitude toward her seemed hostile from the beginning. He was a white, tall, roid head. The cop, his name was Detective Carlborg, was sitting there restlessly waiting for what he assumed would be his win against me. The DA called him over to her. I could hear almost everything they were saying. She told him our motion to continue was going to be granted, which means we were getting more time to prove our case and then she told him that she wasn’t going to need him back on this case. His face went completely red and I could tell he was furious.
He asked, 'Why not? She had more than 100 plants!"
The DA casually flipped through my paperwork which clearly stated that I had my medical marijuana permitting in order, looked up at him and said "So what?" He stormed out of the room. I knew then that he was coming back for me--this is not a guy that likes to lose.
Flash forward three weeks.
I had just hosted a successful two day conference on cannabis legalization in Berkeley, California in January. The cannabis legalization bill Prop. 19 had just failed and I wanted to make sure that we got something on the state's ballot for 2012. I worked 12 hours a day for the next six weeks to pull it off, so my medical cannabis garden got only minimal care most of that time. The crop was ready to harvest but I hadn’t found the time to do it.
It was Tuesday morning, March 22, 2011. I needed to go to the DMV to take care of a fix it ticket that was due that day. I thought about taking my dog Ziggy with me but unfortunately I didn't. I was almost home when I saw the 4 black Cadillac Escalades and a police car in my driveway. My heart started to race. I drove slowly past the house. There were very large men carrying out large black plastic bags. There went my marijuana garden. I started shaking uncontrollably. I drove around the corner and pulled over to call Walter, my attorney.
When I got to Walter's office we decided that it would be best for me to get out of dodge and wait to see how things shook out. All I could think about was how Detective Carlborg must have treated my dog Ziggy. He was in his cute little Teddy bear sweater. What would he do to him? I couldn't leave without Ziggy!
My friends, Y and S got me a hotel room by Walter's office. They drove me to the house after it got dark. I only went in for a few seconds but I saw that they had cut down all my plants and trashed the house. My roommate was gone and so was Ziggy. I didn't sleep that night.
The next day I drove to my friend's house in the San Fernando Valley. I found out that the cops had arrested my roommate and taken Ziggy. Eventually my roommate was released. Ziggy was in the pound.
Now I had to decide when to turn myself in again. We decided on the following Monday because we didn't want to risk me being held over extra time because of the weekend. By this time, I had heard from my landlord that Carlborg had tried to intimidate him into kicking me out of the house. My landlord was pissed and left me a message that if I needed money for a lawsuit or needed him to testify, he was all over it. He said that Detective Carlborg was the biggest dick he had ever talked to. What a cool landlord! I also heard from my doctor that gave me my medical cannabis recommendation. He said that Carlborg had given him a hard time about my recommendation and gave him the third degree.
My roommate decided to move out. Two raids were one too many for Brian and the cops told him that if I would have turned myself in they wouldn’t have had to arrest him. I couldn’t blame him.
Carlborg had tried to use Ziggy to get me to turn myself in, and It was becoming more apparent that he had it in for me and was going to do everything in his power to harass me---even if it meant bending, if not breaking, the law. It was more than I could handle to have Ziggy away from me, so my friend S went to the pound and rescued him.
The next three days were unbelievably stressful. I called everyone that I knew to get advise. I talked to some of the smartest legal minds in the industry. It was becoming apparent that Carlborg couldn’t take no for an answer. He went to another court in a different city, failed to acknowledge the fact that he knew I was in possession of a valid State of California MMJ card, failed to acknowledge the other case and threw in an unsubstantiated claim that I was manufacturing and selling meth! We were all stunned. I also felt the stress of the community and felt guilty for making so many people worry about me but I also felt much support. When I became an activist, I never imagined that I would be turning to the community for support. I was a volunteer organizing conferences, chairing committees, and voter initiatives. I didn’t want to slow things down. That wasn’t my calling.
Monday the 28th, we drove to Redondo to turn myself in. My attorney met me at the police station and so did a journalist from MedicalMarijuana411.com
. Walter and a bail bond lady that I had hired assured me that I'd be out in three to four hours. I had prepared myself for much more. I knew that Carlborg was bending the law and that he would do it again and again until he felt like he'd won. Five hours later, the jailer lady came to my cell to tell me that a special booking was just placed in my case and that I wouldn't be released until Wednesday. Shortly after that, Walter came to see me. He explained that Carlborg was being a super dick and that there was some sort of warrant where they can hold you without bail if they think you're some sort of mob boss that could bail out at any amount using drug money --which couldn’t have been further from the truth.
When I hired my attorney I made him promise that he wouldn’t let me take a plea deal. My cannabis activism is very important to me and I felt that no California jury would convict me.
They pulled me out of the cell and straight into the courtroom. Walter advised me that since they were threatening me with 7 felonies and had offered a generous plea deal that I should take it. He said that if I completed the DEJ program and stayed out of trouble for 18 months I would be able to say that I was never arrested. The Deferred Entry of Judgement program is designed to help with the over crowding of our jails. If you are a first time offender, you can qualify for the program so that your life isn’t totally ruined. I don’t even remember most of what happened in that courtroom. I was in shock. I plead no contest and was released a few hours later.
Order to Return is Awesome and Scary
After I spent some time healing I decided to fight to get my property back. The authorities took my computers, which were my primary mode of income, and refused to return them. Also as part of my Deferred Entry of Judgement the judge agreed that I was a legal medical marijuana patient so I wanted my medicine back too. This is a BIG decision because I know a few people personally that have gotten an Order to Return only to be greeted by the DEA when they got their medical marijuana back!
We filed a motion to have my property returned including the cannabis. The judge granted the motion and gave me an order to return to give to the cops. He warned me that even with the court order, the cops would give me a hard time about returning the pot. He was right.
I had been considering filing a complaint against Carlborg and I decided to do it then and there.
When I went to The Redondo Beach police station to get my property and file my complaint and was given the major run around. Finally I was told that they were refusing to give it back and that they would see me in court. We had a three day hearing. My attorney Walter was incompetent and extremely hungover or worse but the judge did everything he could do to help me. Things were looking good until the last day, when the judge pulled a complete 180. He mis-quoted the case law People v. Tippett explain the case. He said that since my medical cannabis recommendation didn’t have dosages and frequency of use on it all of my cannabis was illegal and he couldn’t give me back even the minimums required by state law back. My attorney asked for time to get the case law. The judge refused, and abruptly dismissed us.
Gangster or Cop?
A few weeks later I signed up for my DEJ classes. I had to go into court to check in and show where and when my classes were. That very week “someone” broke into my car. I had an expensive bottle of wine, a nice pair of jeans, and my briefcase full of legal documents on the passenger seat. The passenger window was broken and the briefcase was stolen. Nothing else was taken. I talked to the manager of the building. She told me that she had managed the building for over 8 years and there had never been an incident in that garage. No other vehicles were bothered that night. I was only in the class for 45 minutes.I believe Det. Carlborg was behind the break-in. I think he planted a GPS tracking devise on my car, and stole my briefcase.
Forced Marijuana Treatment
The DEJ program was interesting. Every Wednesday night for 18 weeks, I met with a health department leader and other unfortunate drug war casualties. The class would start off with roll call and paying a weekly fee. We would watch a video on addiction or the teacher would read some course work to us. Then he would give us some questions that we were required to answer. Most of them were things like, “How does your addiction affect your daily life”?