Joe Byron and Joe Grumbine Guilty Of All Counts in Long Beach Pot Trial

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Joe Byron and Joe Grumbine, who operated a pair of Long Beach cannabis clubs as well as Garden Grove's Unit D collective until they were raided and arrested along with all of their employees two years ago this month, were found guilty by a jury today of selling marijuana, tax evasion, and electricity theft. The verdict  is sure to have wide ramifications throughout California, as it suggests that police and prosecutors can hand-pick cases against cannabis collectives, and assuming a judge allows them to keep juries from hearing the entirety of state law allowing the medicinal use of marijuana, they can win convictions.

The two Joes were the subject of a June 2011 OC Weekly cover story, which detailed how they fell afoul of the police when a disgruntled employee accused them of stealing electricity to facilitate a grow operation, and how undercover cops using actual doctor's recommendations to smoke cannabis made repeated marijuana purchases at the trio of collectives in an effort to build a pot-sales case against the two men.

A news story that will appear in the print edition of the Weekly tomorrow details how the presiding judge in the criminal trial, Charles D. Sheldon, originally ruled that the defense couldn't even mention medical marijuana, but was overturned by an appellate ruling a day before trial began. Among other things, Sheldon allowed prosecutors to erect a screen between jurors and the audience, overwhelmingly made up of mostly elderly former members of the collective, including some in wheelchairs; he also frequently yelled at defense attorneys Christopher Glew and Allison Margolin, thus providing ample grounds for an appeal.

Neither Glew nor Margolin, who were subjected by Sheldon to a gag order during the trial, were immediately available for comment. But given the judge's apparently intense bias against the defense, courtroom observers weren't particularly surprised at the verdict.

"The only way a jury could have acquitted them was with jury nullification," said Charles Monson, a wheelchair-bound activist who worked with Byron and Grumbine to provide support to disabled collective members and himself the subject of a former Weekly cover story. "But the judge really painted them into a corner by not letting them look at the entirety of medical marijuana law. It's a travesty."
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Pops
Pops

Looks to me like there are a lot of arm chair lawyers , don't blame the jury which is easy to do . Blame the system , blame the people who wrote the law . This law the way it's written has so many holes in it Swiss cheese would be embarrass

Onmyknervzzz
Onmyknervzzz

To the man on the jury:

I was a member of one of the collectives, and I personally witnessed Joe G. hand out medicine to those people who are seriously ill, and who couldn't afford to purchase it.  If someone needed a wheelchair or a walker, or any assistance at all, Joe G. was happy to help with whatever he had.  I think your decision was based on misinformation.  My heart breaks for both Joe's and their families.

Kathy B.

Frank Rio
Frank Rio

A medical card is no defense against felony theft of electricity.  Certain growers in Northern CA got 20 yr. sentences for electricity theft.

Jimmy Johnson
Jimmy Johnson

@ Frank Rio, well the land lady, said the wiring was there before Joe was a tenant, when you walk into a public bathroom do you first think that it is using stolen electricity or do you just expect that the light come on.

sevas tra
sevas tra

and this judge thinks he/she has the right to hide the laws from any individual THIS IS WHY AMERICA SUCKS MY FATT HAIRY FUCKING BALL SACK...ahem. excuse me this is why america is so great------forgot i had no freedom of speech my apologies the greatest country in the world now may i have a doughnut and milk oh wise and magnificent one 

Venice
Venice

This all seems to revolve around the notion of profit.

"Profit" at "Non-profits" are totally subjective, and 100% NOT defined by existent laws.

Take as an example, Blue Shield, California's largest nonprofit health insurer: Blue Shield CEO Bruce Bodaken earned $4.6 million last year (2010). Blue Shield's 10 highest-paid executives collectively earned more than $14 million last year.

Check out other Non-Profits. People make big bucks working there: way more than our President, Governor, Judges, Cops or Teachers. While some may not think that is morally "right", there are currently no existent laws which prevent it.

If no law exists that caps salaries at non-profits such as Blue Shield or medical marijuana facilities, no jury can decide what is "reasonable" compensation for employees at a medical marijuana facility.

It can easily be argued that the medical marijuana facilities employees expertise in their field deserves the same just compensation of someone like Bruce Bodaken.

Peers within various fields decide just compensation levels, not juries.

Steele
Steele

Thank you. Finally, someone who understands and has some brains.

Jimmy Johnson
Jimmy Johnson

@ Simple Asthat, Hi, Jimmy Johnson here, 65, using medical cannabis and feeling younger everyday, yes, the old guy with the beard from Kern County who was there all last week and Monday and Wednesday of this week, you may have seen me in the courtroom setting to your right. With all the options available I don't see how a guilty verdict was found, as a grass root activist for medical cannabis, voter registration, partition signing and dragging people to the polls to get them to vote for 215 and now to keep Safe Access for Patients, I know first hand that a drug dealer does not want legal medical cannabis or safe access to get legal medical cannabis, it cuts into their business profit, even with Judge Sheldon’s constant siding with the prosecution you should have got a clue and if there where any doubts at all you should have acquitted and as a last option there was Jury Nullification.

Oh, by the way I did not have money to travel back and forth, so the Grumbine's would give me money, just shove it into my pocket, just maybe that's any example of what happened to some of that missing money, it's hard to keep track of when you're giving it away or maybe some of that missing paper work could have cleared up some of the missing money, besides there are no clear guidlines for legal cannabis only clear guidelines for illegal cannabis, what side did the Judge make clear to you, I'm trying to make a point here, I hope you're getting it and "NOW YOU HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO US, DON'T LET THIS TRAVESTY HAPPEN AGAIN!!"

James Burtnett
James Burtnett

Where does it say they took advantage of anyone? And I don't believe it was profit by the way you didn't hear all of the evidence. The only people taken advantage of was the two Joe's. You are the ONLY ONE that says they were taking advantage of anyone. As far as the the Needy Patients by your conviction YOU are responsible for the SUFFERING of these Patients!   

Scjewel
Scjewel

I hate to admit it by I agree with Simple Asthat on the profit thing.  We need to change that part of the law.   They need to get off this non-profit talk as that is subjective and can be manipulated by both dispensary owners as well as the law. Are pharma drugs stores non-profit? Of course not! And they should not be looking to tax patients, as again, are pharma drugs taxed? If you want to tax cannabis then make it legal for all and tax recreational use like you do alcohol. The commission(Refering to Kamala's request) that comes up with this legislature should be required to sit in on a full day course about MMJ and why it works! As a tax payer I am pissed at the cost to prosecute this case.  I do not want anymore of my taxes used against the Joes.  NO ONE SHOULD GO TO JAIL FOR A PLANT!

merry Xmas
merry Xmas

They are not going to jail for a plant; they are going to jail for a business practice. I don't like it either.

witness
witness

they are going to jail for selling a plant..........

read the charges.....no charges of profiteering, money laundering, 

yes Joe G is going to Jail for a  plant

Tammatha Shade
Tammatha Shade

TOLD YOU HE NEEDED A REAL LAWYER..

Steele
Steele

Touche. When I was in Federal lockup at MDC in LA, other pot defendants who had Allison Margolin came back to their cells crying because Allison took their money, promised to appear in court and didn't show up. She truly is the dope(iest) lawyer. I wouldn't trust here with my life...

witness
witness

the lawyers did an amazing job..problem was they were bound and gagged

Shanmoreno
Shanmoreno

THE EVIDENCE WAS THERE, THAT THE EVIDENCE WAS NOT THERE!!  Just proves how stupid some Americans really are, unfortunately we had 12 of those ones.....

shanmoreno
shanmoreno

Dear Juror, Im sorry you were lied to and you believed them. But... on the other hand,Im not sorry.  Det. Vanezuela TOLD YOU they LIE!!! (You must have been one of the Jurors that was sleeping.)  YOU had the Power and you wasted it!  You put two of the most caring men in jail that would give you the shirt off their back!! We all wouldnt be there to support criminals!  Thanks for giving into the Prison Industrial Complex:  You just let out Two Murderers and put In Two Innocent, Caring, Compassionate Men.  You should have listened to your gut, it was Right.  Merry Christmas.......  & to Steele: Shut Up, Heard lots about you and We all dont know what youre so angry about, but they have classes for that. Maybe you should take one up. Its sad youre prpbably getting such a rush, posting all these absurd comments.  Its so called "activists" like you that cripple the movement, so do us a favor and get on board or just jump off the ship.  Thanks!      

Steele
Steele

Hi, So when did the law EVER differentiate between a good person or bad. The law is a set of rules and if you break them there are consequences. The Joes will serve time for electricity theft and tax evasion. The Joes are also both very nice guys. But, nice doesn't change criminal activity. Please understand. Lastly, in hardly angry. I'm actually blessed. Real activists use their real names and not hide behind email monachers. I've done more for the movement thank you can imagine. You owe me a thank you as I continue to fight tgem feds for YOU. I have too much class to bash you personally of which you are deserving. Happy Holidays!

freedom fighter
freedom fighter

The jury ... Which obviously knkws nothin will have their karma . We didnt steal anything we only helped people. Fuck the lying cops and all the jurrors who ciuldnt see through this bullshit. And steele... Yer a nobody, you dont nnow shit about unit d and yer scum. Get a life

Steele
Steele

Hi Freedom Fighter. Another ignorant individual who knows me.... Knows I know them yet, "freedom fighter" won't use their name. If I'm a nobody you're sure making me somebody... Your use of "WE" makes me suspicious of your identity... And, your motive. Learn to spell, at least.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Do you guys follow the show Weed Wars?  It would be interesting to compare the operations of Harborside Health Center with the Joes and learn why one is allowed to operate and the other prosecuted. 

Steele
Steele

Harborside doesn't steal electricity and they pay their taxes...

Fully InformedJurordotorg
Fully InformedJurordotorg

You know nothing of the trial and in fact never attended one day of it. It seems rather apparent that you've taken advantage of an opportunity to try and discredit two honest men being unjustly prosecuted. I've NEVER met nicer people than Joe Grumbine and his group and I'm quite likely in my lifetime, never to again. So shame on you. Shame on the jury and shame on whoever asimple asshat really is. Probably the same undercover cop that stole our artwork and lyrics outside of Egg Heaven. Perhaps it's really that crotch costano that later cornered the artist by himself in the courtroom hallway and told him that she "liked his songs." Or maybe you're just one of the many other puppets in this unreal and disgusting abuse of power, personal vendettas, and ignorance. To be among people like you and the prosecution, truly makes me ashamed to be an American.

Steele
Steele

Identify yourself. Otherwise, your faceless rants are noise in a vacuum. Marla, David, Kandice, Charles who? Speak up...

merryXmas
merryXmas

Ha Ha..... If that's true it's funny

Fully InformedJurydotorg
Fully InformedJurydotorg

Oh, you're Steele Smith! The same guy that has personal issues with people from Joe Grumbine's group, and no support from the community of his own to speak of. Yes, we know you! Attempting to use an online venue to support your own personal grudges is not only pathetic, but very small minded and rude of you. By confusing people even more by interjecting your own personal bs into an article regarding a very serious trial that affects ALL MEDICAL MARIJUANA COLLECTIVES, PATIENTS AND PROVIDERS, of which you are obviously completely ignorant of, in an attempt to discredit these men because your personal issues, is even more pathetic.

"I deal in facts." riiiiiiiiiight. Especially since your personal grudges with certain activists among Joe's group has always been an issue with you. Your anger and personal issues are extremely transparent. How sad that your personal issues are rendering you incapable of being an honest warrior in this battle with us. It's as if you've pitted yourself an enemy to us, to your comrades in this war. You've just managed to add even more shame onto this mountain of injustice, congratulations.

Fully InformedJurydotorg
Fully InformedJurydotorg

Stating that you've read trial briefs doesn't make it true. What is "hippie crap"? And where did you get the trial briefs for this trial? If you truly have them and read them, please feel free to quote them as proof for any of your statements. If americans like you make life better for Americans like me, perhaps you could validate that statement with facts as well and tell me, how so? Get a life? I have one, what you're trying to insinuate means nothing to me.

Steele
Steele

I read trial briefs. I deal in facts. Not hippie crap. Get a life. Americans like me make life better for people like you who consider themselves American.

Steele
Steele

The two Joes were convicted because they were tax evading AND stealing electricity. Not because they were selling marijuana. The dark side of OC Norml, Marla, Kandice and their groupie Nick Schou have been exposed for their ignorance in their posterboys finally losing. When you don't follow the law you lose... It's that simple.

Cheri Sicard
Cheri Sicard

To the juror, you are not to blame.  But you never heard the whole story.

Throughout this year long trial, that began with $250,00 bail (more than the county recommends for rapists, child molesters and kidnappers) intended to keep the Joe's in jail (who have no prior convictions for ANYTHING) and through the preliminary hearing that disallowed the defendant's ability to present ANY evidence, then through the 6 months of pr-trial hearings where the judge denied over 20 motions to allow a defense, to ultimately the judge denying a medical defense or ANY mention whatsoever of medical marijuana, and the judge then getting over turned in the appellate court before trial even began, the trial was a travesty.  But the jury was never allowed to know ANY of that.

The ultimate piece of this is the defense requested dozens of items of seized evidence that were NEVER turned over to the defense.  Their very existence was denied by the police.  The defense lawyer Chris Glew even took the stand to say there were items of evidence the police lost or destroyed, that would have shown the reality of the numbers and accounting.  Those numbers actually showed a net loss to the collective as opposed to an overwhelming profit.  The collective was deeply in the red when they were raided.  They were a new business.  Their first grow hadn't even been completed, there was not even one harvest.  So the profit numbers were totally bogus.  But somehow those particular items, along with a written employee reprimand for on the job drinking made to the disgruntled employee that started this whole case out of malice, disappeared.  Poof, like so many smoke clouds.

Not to mention the 5 cases of defense witness intimidation that the judge refused to do anything about.

Sorry, but the jury got it totally wrong and convicted 2 innocent, compassionate men.  But the jury was duped and not allowed to hear the truth.

That's Long Beach Kangaroo Court, Sport!

Steele
Steele

Cheri, they were stealing electricity and not posting taxes. Thats why they were convicted... All your whining changes none of those facts.

Miles Green
Miles Green

It's not like this is a first. This happens daily. It's sad.

Tattedcrowes
Tattedcrowes

When will our government adhere to the voters again.....our elections are done by VOTES, this was passed by the MAJORITY, LET IT STAND...

Simple Asthat
Simple Asthat

Once again this had nothing to do with the right to have access to medical marijuana.  It had to do with making a profit at the expense of those who needed it.  

SheldonLied
SheldonLied

The AG guidelines says6.Permissible Reimbursements and Allocations: Marijuana grown at a collective or cooperative for medical purposes may be:a)Provided free to qualified patients and primary caregivers who are members of the collective or cooperative; b)Provided in exchange for services rendered to the entity; 

c)Allocated based on fees that are reasonably calculated to cover overhead costs and operating expenses; ord)Any combination of the above.-------------

Fees for MJ are allowed under the law.  The Joe's never showed a profit by state or federal law standards.  No tax returns were ever turned over to show a profit.  Numbers were juggled and fabricated to show a profit before all expenses were accounted for.  The Judge refused to let you see this.

witness
witness

defense had many witnesses and much evidence suppressed  in this case as those of us that watched in horror for over 35 hearings and trial dates saw. we didn't even see all of the details that were to be presented but enough to see the truth. the truth that the jury was not allowed to see

shameful 

witness
witness

jurors were not allowed to see the whole picture as discovery was not turned over and books were incomplete. if they had seen the whole picture, this travesty would not have happened

merry Xmas
merry Xmas

According to the juror it doesn't seem the defense was effective in addressing the charges.

merry Xmas
merry Xmas

I think the word you are differing over is "Reasonable fees" The jury determined that the money unaccounted for was not reasonable, and some of them gave Joe's the benefit of the doubt until it became unreasonable. 

SheldonLied
SheldonLied

The AG guidelines says

6.Permissible Reimbursements and Allocations: Marijuana grown at a collective or cooperative for medical purposes may be:a)Provided free to qualified patients and primary caregivers who are members of the collective or cooperative; b)Provided in exchange for services rendered to the entity; c)Allocated based on fees that are reasonably calculated to cover overhead costs and operating expenses; ord)Any combination of the above.Fees for MJ are allowed under the law.  The Joe's never showed a profit by state or federal law standards.  No tax returns were ever turned over to show a profit.  Numbers were juggled and fabricated to show a profit before all expenses were accounted for.  The Judge refused to let you see this.

Kathy Sweeney
Kathy Sweeney

oh and by the way the other thing the prosecution didn't want you to hear is the reason there were no bank accounts is because the banks have closed the accounts (keeping the money of course) of collectives - citing federal laws

Simple Asthat
Simple Asthat

Also a moot point.  They made a profit.  If they had distributed the marijuana at a rate that allowed them to simply cover their expenses we wouldn't be having this discussion.  

Venice
Venice

"Make a profit" is totally subjective, and 100% NOT defined by existent laws. At best, the only fair thing the law can do is to compare their salaries (profits) to those of other NON-Profits in our State.

Take as an example, Blue Shield, California's largest nonprofit health insurer: Blue Shield CEO Bruce Bodaken earned $4.6 million last year (2010). Blue Shield's 10 highest-paid executives collectively earned more than $14 million last year.

Check out other Non-Profits. People make big bucks working there: way more than our President, Governor, Judges, Cops or Teachers. While some may not think that is morally "right", there are currently no existent laws which prevent it.

If no law exists that caps salaries at non-profits such as Blue Shield or medical marijuana facilities, no jury can decide what is "reasonable" compensation for employees at a medical marijuana facility.

It can easily be argued that the medical marijuana facilities employees expertise in their field deserves the same just compensation of someone like Bruce Bodaken.

Peers within various fields decide just compensation levels, not juries.

Cali Tex
Cali Tex

 Read SB420 and The AG guidelines on Medical MJ

witness
witness

in addition to much more evidence, judge sheldon supressed the fact that 5 weeks before the raid a superior court judge in Riverside dismissed the same case after reviewing ALL the evidence (not just what was shown here) "in the interest of justice the defendant was following California law......."  I have seen the transcript and was present every day of trial and  pretrial. if the jury had seen what I did, they would not have convicted an innocent man

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