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U.S. VS. Steele Federal Judge Allows Medical Marijuana Defense


This looks like a case that could win at trial, If the Steeles "win at trial’ 
(i.e. are acquitted of criminal charges in federal court), there is no appeal 
possible by the government. In the US, that would be double jeopardy.
OCBC and Raich were both civil, not criminal, proceedings.

    * *U.S. v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative, 532 U.S. 483 (2001)

        ·Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005)

 Raich left the medical necessity defense undecided:

       ·Raich v. Gonzales, 500 F.3d 850 (9th Cir. 2007)

 So, that means this case (Steele) is the case where that will be decided.


 U.S. V Steele Federal Judge Allows Medical Marijuana Defense
 December 11, 2010
 By Thomas http://hawaiinewsdaily.com/author/Thomas  

 U.S. V Steele is a landmark cannabis case that could change federal 
 medical marijuana law for all 50 states.

 This is the first case that any defendant in the United States has been 
 allowed to raise an affirmative medical marijuana defense in federal court

Cormac J. Carney, is the presiding federal judge in U.S. v Smith. In a 
 courageous and historic ruling he decided that the medical marijuana 
 issues will be heard as testimony. This is the first time this has 
happened in U.S. history.
 This story started in 2001 when Steele Smith — a law abiding business 
 man become very ill. He landed in an emergency room. Over the next four 
 months it happens several more times. But the doctors could not figure 
 out what was wrong, he is prescribed prescription pain medication, 
 Steele also loses 40 pounds. Ultimately a rare diseases doctor diagnoses 
 Steele’s disease as Zollinger-Ellison (Z-E). The disease causes painful 
 ulcers, making it difficult for patients to eat and is so rare most 
 doctors have never seen it. The result is extreme pain and nausea. 
 Doctors prescribe him the strongest acid reducing drug available. For 
 the severe pain, the doctor also prescribed high doses of morphine and 
 sent him to a specialist (a pain doctor) who ordered a morphine regimen.
 Steele becomes heavily addicted to morphine. With his wife starting in 
 2004 he begins to try and “kick” his morphine addiction. It almost kills 
 him and he ends up in the intensive care unit (ICU). Over the next year 
 and a half Steels battles his morphine addiction. Until after 
 painstaking research he finds a new drug Suboxin and under the care of a 
 doctor over several weeks he finally is able to become completely drug 
 free. However the under lying pain and nausea return. He is unable to 
 eat or live a normal life. After more research Steele is given a medical 
 marijuana recommendation, he buys his marijuana at one of the 
 dispensaries in Los Angeles.
 His recovery is nothing short of miraculous with his pain and nausea now 
 controlled using cannabis Steele is able to eat again and his health 
 returns. There were no dispensaries in Orange county where the Smith’s 
 live so they must travel to L.A. to buy cannabis.

 Steele and Theresa decide to open a small collective, California 
 Compassionate Caregivers in their home. After researching the law and 
 proposition 215 they begin to grow cannabis for safe access patients. 
 Within a few months they find their patient base growing and by 2006 it 
 reaches over 1,000.
 This does not escape the attention of the local police department and 
 officers from the Placentia Police Department come to the Steele home 
 seizing 18 plants, patient records, 4 pounds of medical marijuana, a 
 small amount of concentrate and cash, but no charges are filed. After 
 unsuccessfully trying to get his property and records returned 
 repeatedly and after seeking legal advice Steele decides to sue the city 
 of Placentia, again simply seeking the return of his property.
 The city of Placentia retaliates and moves the case to a federal level. 
 This quashes Mr. Smith’s standing in the civil court effectively killing 
 the lawsuit. That was not the end of it as the Smith’s were about to 
 find out.
 On Nov. 1, 2007 in an early morning raid, federal agents storm the 
 Smith’s two homes using paramilitary style tactics. Officers wearing 
 masks and paramilitary gear break down the front door and roust the 
 sleeping couple at gunpoint, holding them at gun point through out the 
 raid. The agents abuse the couples dogs spraying them with a fire 
 extinguisher, and one of dog dies four days later.
 As is standard procedure during marijuana raids nationwide the officers 
 destroy the home during the search that follows. The home as are most 
 homes raided like this, is totally vandalized. In Hawaii county where I 
 have lived for 30 years they conduct their marijuana raids in exactly 
 the same way. Doors and gates are broken down, then left wide open for 
 any and all of the public to take furniture and belongings at will. In 
 Hawaii the police also rob these homes taking anything they want, 
 cooking dinner, and joy ridding vehicles around the neighborhoods as 
 they harass the neighbors searching there homes also even with out 
 search warrants or probable cause.
 In the Smith’s case the police also go to C3?s medical dispensary. They 
 seize 2 pounds of medical marijuana and a small amount of concentrate. 
 Police leave the door wide open inviting theft and vandals there also.
 Steele, Theresa, Alex Valentine, a young patient with Elephant man’s 
 syndrome and over thirty surgeries, and Dennis La Londe, a homeless man 
 recently given shelter, were jailed all but Theresa spent most of the 
 next year in a maximum security, level-five Federal prison in Los 
 Angeles. They were all charged with conspiracy to manufacture or grow 
 marijuana and are facing ten years in federal prison.
 Theresa was released after 2 months but forced to post $200,000 bond, 
 using her dying mother’s home and two signatures to meet the 
 requirements of the bond. The remaining defendants suffered in federal 
 prison for another 10 months. When Steele is finally released he must 
 wear an electronic ankle bracelet for another year. All the defendants 
 to this day are still required to report regularly to federal pre-trial 
 While medical marijuana is not technically a legal defense, for the 
 first time in U.S history the defendants will be able to testify to the 
 jury that they were operating under prop 215. That testimony will show 
 they were in complete compliance with California law, and the collective 
 was very professionally run to provide safe access for patients in 
 Orange county. The DEA as they always have is portraying these legal 
 patients as ordinary drug dealers but this time for the first time the 
 jury will hear the other side.

 In an interesting twist the government has offered a deal for time 
 served to Steel. To his credit and at great risk to himself, he has 
 decided not to take the deal and faces up to ten years in federal prison 
 for that decision. Steele Smith wants to go to trial because he believes 
 the issues are to important and need to be adjudicated, in his fight to 
 uphold the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, States’ 
 rights allowing safe, legal access to medical marijuana. The Smiths are 
 true heroes and deserves our support.

 For more information, please contact:
 Theresa Smith
 2166 W. Broadway, #100
 Anaheim, CA 92804-2446
 Some links on the case.


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