Medical Marijuana Patient Faces Prosecution in San Diego Court

Press Release August 31, 2009
Media Contact

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

SAN DIEGO — On September 3rd in San Diego County Superior Court, medical marijuana patient Donna Lambert will have one last chance to ask a judge to dismiss the case against her. She faces seven felony counts for providing medical marijuana to another qualified patient in accordance with state law.

“I’m already fighting life-threatening illness, and now I’m fighting for my life in court,” said Ms. Lambert, a medical marijuana patient facing prosecution in San Diego. “I’m being prosecuted in state court even though I followed state law. It doesn’t make any sense. I’ve got news for San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis: medical marijuana is legal. Get over it and stop harassing patients.”

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 joined a collective with about ten other patients only after federal agents, with support from county law enforcement, raided and closed San Diego’s medical marijuana dispensaries in 2006.

“Donna Lambert is a victim of District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’s continuing blatant disregard for state medical marijuana laws. This may be politics for the district attorney, but this is life and death for Donna Lambert,” said Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, deputy state director for the Drug Policy Alliance in Southern California. “We hope the judge will see this case for what it is and dismiss all charges.”

Where: Department 53 at the downtown San Diego Courthouse. (Cameras are welcome.)
When: September 3rd, 2009, at 1:30pm.
Why: Hearing in medical marijuana patient Donna Lambert’s case (#ACL004).


Ms. Lambert is one of 14 people arrested in the District Attorney-led “Operation GreenRx”, which is estimated to have already cost taxpayers over $2 million. As part of that operation, as many as ten detectives spent six months becoming qualified medical marijuana patients on fraudulent grounds and then joining medical marijuana collectives. Undercover San Diego Police Detective Scott Henderson lied to a doctor to obtain a valid medical marijuana recommendation and then reached out to Ms. Lambert for help. After verifying his valid doctor’s recommendation and providing him with medicinal marijuana, Ms. Lambert now faces seven felony counts.

Ms. Lambert’s case is important for several reasons. It is one of the first cases to be tried after both President Obama and US Attorney General Holder have said it was a waste of resources to spend money undermining the state medical marijuana laws. It is also one of the first medical marijuana cases to be tried 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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