So.Dak. cannabis patient busted

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—– Original Message —–
From: "Allison Bigelow" <Allison@inwa.net>
To: "Mmj List" <mmjlist@cannabismd.org>; "Hemp-Talk@Hemp. Net"
<hemp-talk@hemp.net>
Sent: Tuesday, March 18, 2008 10:11 AM
Subject: [mmjlist] So.Dak. cannabis patient busted

> Hey everyone,
>
> The following is an action alert from the NORML chapter in South Dakota,
> leading action in response to a patient being prosecuted for growing his
> own medicine. There is no current mmj law in South Dakota.
>
> In our own state of Washington, where we do have a law, patients are being
> prosecuted and arrested at an alarmingly increasing rate. The following is
> a good example of action that can be taken, in cases like this. Make sure
> to read the pre-sentence investigation questionnaire that is available at
> the link, and the way this AIDS patient answers his questions truthfully.
>
> There are too many cases here in WA right now, and it increases almost
> daily. Real people’s lives are being trashed right here, people losing
> their homes, and their health because of run ins with law enforcement.
>
> Allison
>
>
> Begin forwarded message:
>
>
> From: "Bob Newland" <newland@rapidcity.com>
> Date: March 16, 2008 2:33:46 PM PDT
> To: efs@CenturyTel.net
> Subject: So.Dak. cannabis patient busted
>
>
> Hello everyone;
>
> Please read the story below. This is an excellent opportunity to help
> change the law in South Dakota regarding therapeutic cannabis use. Please
> take the time to write a letter to Judge Eckrich. Be polite! I think it’s
> likely he will do the right thing, but not if the letters aren’t
> respectful.
>
> Follow the directions at the bottom of the page.
>
> Best regards,
> Bob Newland
> SoDAkNORML
>
> P.S. Once a So. Dak. court is on record as recognizing "special
> circumstances" with a cannabis patient, the door is opened for legislative
> action, so judges are not put in this position.
>
> See the arrest report, the pre-sentence investigation (priceless)
> questionnaire, and my letter to the judge.
> http://www.sodaknorml.org/Falt/falt.htm
> ============================
>
>
> Tom Faltynowicz (falti-NO-vich) is a 43-year-old gay rancher in southern
> Meade County in South Dakota. He has also contracted AIDS, the symptoms of
> which he alleviates with cannabis. He was diagnosed as having AIDS, based
> on T-cell count, in 1990. His prognosis at the time was, "maybe a few
> years."
>
> Last September, Meade County officials were told that Tom was growing
> "marijuana" in his trailer house situated near his parents’ house at the
> ranch headquarters a few miles north of Rapid City, So. Dak.
>
> Tom welcomed the police who came to investigate, Meade County
> Investigator Michael Walker and So. Dak. Division of Criminal
> Investigation Agent John Griswold, and immediately admitted growing
> cannabis to treat his condition. He invited the officers into his house to
> see his grow operation.
>
> The evidence list says there were five plants and about a quarter-pound
> of dry "marijuana."
>
> Faltynowicz pled to possession of more than two ounces but less than
> 1/2-lb. of "marijuana." That’s the lowest order of felony; maximum two
> years plus $4000.
>
> The court, Circuit Judge Jerome Eckrich, will sentence Tom on April 21,
> 2008.
>
> Tom’s AIDS specialist, Dr. Traub, of Rapid City, will speak at his
> sentencing hearing. The state’s attorney has already said he will not
> object to anything Traub has to say. Everything I have seen regarding this
> case leads me to believe no one wants to punish Faltynowicz. On the other
> hand, the law is the law.
>
> Tom’s lawyer, Joe Ellingson of Spearfish SD, says the judge can impose
> anything from no sentence to two years, plus fines and probation. As a
> practical matter, the best he can probably hope for is a suspended jail
> sentence without probation. The probation officer has already told him
> that even Marinol is a probation violation, because there is no provision
> for any THC to be allowed to show up in drug tests. A probation violation
> means lockup for whatever the period of the suspended sentence. Probation
> means jail, unless they somehow make an unlikely exception for Tom.
>
> Faltynowicz says he will not suspend use of the medicine that makes life
> livable for him. Any period of lockup would threaten, and perhaps end, his
> life.
>
> Therefore I am asking you to write a letter to Judge Eckrich, asking him
> to impose the least restrictive sentence within his authority.
>
> Faltynowicz’s criminal record lists a misdemeanor conviction for
> possession of cannabis in 1195, and one in 1996. Other than that, nothing.
>
> The letter should contain some documentation of medical benefit from
> cannabis, especially for appetite stimulation in AIDS wasting syndrome,
> nausea-reduction and alleviation of anxiety and desperation (to the extent
> alleviation of those conditions can be documented). A personal anecdote
> about a family member or acquaintance is pretty powerful, too.
>
> A subtle appeal to the judge’s humanity and consciousness of public
> sentiment could be included. We want him to have some idea (without overt
> threat) of the possible negative publicity resulting from putting a dying
> man in jail for using medicine that works.
>
> A better way of putting that is to say that we want him to think of the
> possible positive publicity he can gain by acting humanely, something the
> legal system is not known for in these instances.
>
> Among many other arguments to advance the thesis that no punishment is
> merited for Tom Faltynowicz’s actions is the obvious presumption that Tom
> has probably smoked cannabis regularly, probably nearly daily, since at
> least 1995. That assumption can be made after a rudimentary examination of
> the evidence. Tom confirms that he learned soon after his AIDS diagnosis
> was made that cannabis alleviated the ill effects of the disease and its
> treatment.
>
> Yet, he has not been accused of ANY illegal behavior except mere
> possession. There isn’t even a hint of theft or violent behavior. There is
> no reason to believe that he will engage in such behavior in the future.
>
> The only humanely permissible "correctional" sentence is one that most
> closely resembles no sentence.
>
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> You are welcome to call Tom Faltynowicz to ascertain any facts you might
> feel you need.
> 605-923-7278
> 605-381-7809
>
> Tom tells me that he has prescriptions for the following medication:
>
> AIDS
> Combiver
> Vered
> Sustiva
>
> Speriva, for emphysema
> Alupent, for asthma
>
> Marinol, for nausea and sedation
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>
>
>
> Address your letter:
>
> Honorable Jerome Eckrich
> Circuit Court Judge
> 1425 Sherman Street
> P. O. Box 939
> Sturgis, SD 57785-0939
>
>
>
> Please mail your letter to Tom’s lawyer:
>
> Joseph Ellingson (questions?) 605-642-8787
> 108 E Grant St email <jellingson@rushmore.com>
> Spearfish SD 57783
>
> Also please email me, Bob Newland, a copy of your letter. Thanks.
> newland@rapidcity.com
>
> See the arrest report, the pre-sentence investigation (priceless)
> questionnaire, and my letter to the judge.
> http://www.sodaknorml.org/Falt/falt.htm
>
>
>
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