Joe Grumbine and Joe Byron Denied Medical Defense in Long Beach Pot Trial

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Why Joe Byron and Joe Grumbine, the operators of two shuttered cannabis clubs in Long Beach as well as Garden Grove's Unit D collective, were ever charged for selling marijuana in the first place is a mystery. After all, Long Beach not only does not have any laws banning marijuana clubs in the city, but it actually has an ordinance allowing them to operate, which is why there are now numerous clubs that, for a tidy $15,000 permit fee, are currently doing exactly the same thing that Byron and Grumbine now face prison time for doing: selling weed to patients qualified to smoke the stuff under state law.

But yesterday, this weird case got even more bizarre when Long Beach Superior Court Judge Charles D. Sheldon ruled that Byron and Grumbine could not wage a so-called "affirmative defense," meaning that jurors will have no choice but to view them as regular drug dealers rather than medical marijuana purveyors who were arguably carrying out the law rather than breaking it.

Given that both men have never denied operating clubs that provided marijuana to members--see OC Weekly's June 2011 cover story, "Buds," about their case--it's hard to see this unhappy charade will end well, although there's a strong possibility Sheldon's ruling could be overturned on appeal.

Grumbine's attorney, Christopher Glew, for one, expressed amazement at Sheldon's ruling. "The city of Long Beach has an ordinance that allows the sales and distribution of marijuana," Glew argued. "So they are telling people to do something that they are arresting people for doing and not allowing them to present evidence they have that government officials are telling them to do this. How can this be? Why are there not 10,000 other people being charged with this, including city councilmen and police officers? Essentially what Long Beach is getting away with is picking and choosing who the law applies to and it's completely random. It just defies logic."

Panicked emails circulating online cannabis forums this morning assert that if Sheldon's ruling stands, nobody in California will be able to mention the words "medical marijuana" when their cannabis clubs happen to be raided and they are brought up on pot sales charges. For his part, though, Glew isn't too worried. "In making his ruling, the judge relied on old cases cited by the prosecution and ignored newer ones I mentioned in my brief," he said. "So we will have to file an appeal and we will do that. Ultimately, all the judge is doing is making us do a trial that will ultimately be overturned on appeal."

If convicted, Byron and Grumbine could each serve several years in state prison.

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15 comments
rsteeb
rsteeb

4th District Court of Appeals to "Judge" Sheldon:  "NO."

=D

sun7
sun7

 Forget about all kind of lost and win stuff and just think for cannabis and marijuana highs and buy drugs for that from given below site name please go on legal-highs !!!!          

R. Murray
R. Murray

I was there last Thursday to bear witness to Judge Sheldon's utter defiance of California laws and logic regarding dispensaries, especially those guidelines written by Jerry brown himself.This tri-county raid conducted by Steve Cooley to appear "tough on crime" cost California taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ther proceedings in Judge Sheldon's kangaroo court will no doubt escalate it into the millions, while our Libraries close and Schools go underfunded. What a SHAM! Makes me wonder what Mr. Cooley, Judge Sheldon and Assistant D.A. DeStano were under the influence of when they decided it was a good idea to prosecute these two fine men, who have never run afoul of the law before.As a proud member of The Human Solution, I've seen the effect court support can have on the outcome of a trial. This group was founded by Mr. Grumbine to provide the exact kind of help that he so desperatly needs right now. I sincerely hope that you will join us in Long Beach Superior Court on October 13 as we fight for not only "the Joe's" freedom, but the freedoms of all medical cannabis patients, growers and collectives that the California voters were kind enough to bestow upon us 15 years ago. The Human Solution says it best..."No One Should Go To JAIL For A PLANT!"

Anonyms
Anonyms

Chris Glew is a great Attorney who takes the time to not only represent his client but to also talk with those of us there to support the Joe's on numerous occasions. He tries to keep us positive and supporting our judicial system while explaining the in and outs of the law. He did not speak to us after the Judge's ruling that the defense he had prepared could not be used. 

We've had access to this defense for 15 years with Medical Marijuana but because it is a defense only and not a statement that we are legal patients are still subject to arrest and prosecution and the denial of such a defense before a Jury. Tell me if a patient died on the operating table would you arrest the surgeon and deny his ability to tell the jury that he was a trained medical doctor in the middle of an operation or would you only show the bloody scalpel deny him the ability to say he was only doing his job under the law and try him for murder? No, of course not. So why do that for the Joe's?

Discrimination against a law they didn't write and that they don't like, thats all this is. 

Join in the fight against these unjust persecutions.

Lynn Ann Matthews
Lynn Ann Matthews

prob is ppl keep calling it sales when its not and the feds feel like we r cutting them out of something waning to provide safe accsess to ppl

Lynn Ann Matthews
Lynn Ann Matthews

there is no legal "sales" of mj Donations to cover the cost of growing is all

Steve1ucsc
Steve1ucsc

keep them government workers working they should all just die 

Mara Felsen
Mara Felsen

Actually Paul, they were both denied an opportunity to present an affirmative defense as early as their preliminary hearings, an even more egregious and patently incorrect ruling.  I sat in open court throughout and heard the prosecutor affirmatively misstate the law to that judge (not Sheldon).  When attorney Allison Margolin called out his lie, she was admonished by the judge for doing so.  That hearing was a kangaroo court in session and it sounds like this one was equally lacking in any sort of procedural protections we pretend our courts afford.  I am continually amazed by how easily misled so many of these judges are by unscrupulous district attorneys engaging in this non-sensical prosecutorial feeding frenzy. If they are trying to further undermine what little confidence people have left in our criminal justice system, I'd say "mission accomplished."

Paul Lucas
Paul Lucas

Dude I think they are going to have to overturn that on appeal. I thought that they were initially given the affirmative defense some two appearances ago. I guess that got reversed. Anyway, its a shitty situation and I ont know how they can send in cops and council men o buy cannabis and then raid the places. It defies logic.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Judge Sheldon is 80 years old?  Oh brother, he grew up in the Reefer Madness age. 

Cynthia Johnston
Cynthia Johnston

8:00 AM Wednesday, October 12th*Long Beach Courthouse415 West Ocean BoulevardLong Beach, CA 90802

(*Not the 13th)

Paul
Paul

What do you guys think the pros[pects of conducting a recall on steve cooly is? I can guarentee one thing you could conduct a recall on the judge very easily.

Anonyms
Anonyms

Yeah, like the Joe's are going to jail for semantics. Argue amongst yourselves over the words to use I'm sure that will help, ummmm, never!

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