Court Rules in San Diego Medical Marijuana Case: Dismissal Denied

Press Release September 2, 2009
Media Contact

Donna Lambert at (619) 381-1263 or Margaret Dooley-Sammuli at (213) 291 4190

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego County Superior Court today denied medical marijuana patient Donna Lambert’s request for dismissal. Ms. Lambert’s supporters urged District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis not to pursue the case, to uphold the state’s medical marijuana laws and to turn law enforcement’s attention to matters of public safety not politics.

“I’m disappointed at today’s ruling, but I am resolved to fight this egregious case against me,” said Ms. Lambert, who faces seven felony counts for providing medical marijuana to another qualified patient. “I have not broken the law, and I have no intention of letting this county just run over my rights, and the rights of all medical marijuana patients, to follow doctor-recommended treatment and to help each other.”

Ms. Lambert is one of 14 medical marijuana patients arrested earlier this year after undercover law enforcement agents worked for six months to become qualified medical marijuana patients and join lawful collectives. At a February press conference, the District Attorney said these arrests were part of an action called Operation Endless Summer aimed at “people who were preying on military housing.” Ms. Lambert’s case stems from help she provided to one undercover agent, who had a valid doctor’s recommendation. [Case: #ACL004] No members of Ms. Lambert’s collective belong to the military.

“Donna Lambert is on trial because the District Attorney is up for re-election next year. This is about headlines, not justice,” said Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, deputy state director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “This may be politics as usual for Ms. Dumanis, but it is life and death for Donna.”

Ms. Lambert, a 47-year-old San Diego resident, began relying on marijuana to cope with chemotherapy. She struggles with a number of serious illnesses, including hepatitis C, cirrhosis, cancer and Sjoegrens Disease. She formed a collective with a few other patients in 2006 after federal and local agents raided and closed San Diego’s medical marijuana dispensaries.

Ms. Lambert’s case is one of the first cases to be tried since both President Obama and US Attorney General Holder said they would not spend federal resources to undermine state’s medical marijuana laws. It is also one of the first medical marijuana cases since the US Supreme Court refused to hear San Diego County’s bid to overturn California’s medical marijuana laws.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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