Feds jail elderly medical cannabis caregiver
SFPD inspector said to be assisting federal prosecutions
in contravention of City sanctuary status
Stephanie Landa, 60, hugs her son, Max, outside San Francisco's
federal building Thursday before turning herself into federal
authorities to begin a 41-month prison sentence for cultivating
January 5, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO - An elderly woman began a 41-month jail
sentence in federal prison yesterday after turning herself in
to federal authorities.
Stephanie Landa, 60 and a mother, began her sentence at noon
following an 11:00 a.m press conference outside the San Francisco
In July, 2003, on advice of counsel, Landa plead guilty to a
charge of 'maintaining a place for the manufacturing of marijuana'
and was subsequently sentenced by Federal Judge William Alsup
to 41-months in federal prison.
Landa appealed the decision and was released on her own recognizance
pending a ruling from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court, but was remanded
back into custody last month by Alsup to begin her sentence yesterday.
Organized by advocacy groups and activists and attended by several
local elected officials including Supervisors Tom Ammiano and
Chris Daly, the mid-morning press conference was held to condemn
the federal government's continued persecution of medical cannabis
patients and caregivers, and to bring attention to a widely held
belief that a "rogue" SFPD narcotics inspector is involved
in assisting federal authorities in the identification and prosecution
of caregivers, in direct contravention of the City of San Francisco's
declared sanctuary status.
In a Patient Advocacy Network
press release, Axis of Love Executive Director Shona Gochenaur
says, "Lt. Martin Halloran has an established pattern and
practice of harassment of qualified patients in San Francisco
which is in direct conflict with out city's sanctuary status."
Axis of Love Executive Director Shona Gochenaur (left) consoles
during Landa's last moments of freedom.
The press release states Halloran 'conducted the raid on the
patient garden in 2002, later cooperating with feds arguing his
status with the DEA required him to do so.'
"It is ridiculous that in the City of San Francisco we should
have to tolerate rogue cops persecuting the medical cannabis community
to get promoted," stated Julian Davis of the San Francisco
Police Commissioner David Campos, who attended the press conference
to express his dismay at San Francisco authorities for expending
city resources to incarcerate a 60-year old medical cannabis patient,
called the action "shameful".
"As a police commissioner, I will do everything within my
power to make sure that the police department has no role going
forward in the federal government's failed drug enforcement policy,"
Police Commissioner David Campos
Dale Gieringer Ph.D., spokesperson for CaNorml,
an organization dedicated to the reform of marijuana laws, said
California has 14 times as many prisoners incarcerated for marijuana
related offences today than 20 years ago.
"What is shameful is we have people going to prison because
of medical marijuana after California voters voted to legalize
medical marijuana," Gieringer said.
District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly, who presides over a district
with a disproportionate number of patients living with HIV/AIDS,
said of Landa's incarceration, "The raindrops here this morning
are the tears of injustice."
"The federal government is using its resources to lock up
someone who is non-violent but they can't find the resources to
house people who are homeless. They can't find the resources to
feed those who are hungry. They can't find the resources to provide
health care to those who are sick, but they can find the resources
to lock someone up who is helping people and is coming from a
place of compassion.
"That is the definition of injustice."
Supervisor Chris Daly
For his part, Halloran told Fog City Journal, "I am just
doing my job."
SFPD Lt. Marty Halloran (center background). FIle photo 5/8/6.