In a glaring misused of our legal system, Dr. Marion “Mollie” Fry and her husband, civil attorney Dale Schafer, after more than a half a decade of litigation and three years of appeals, the couple have been given the date of May 2, 2011, to turn themselves over to the State of California to serve five years in a federal prison.
It started when the police raided their Sacramento home in 2001, finding thirty-four plants. Well below the ninety plant limit established by the local city ordinance for medical card holders such as themselves.
Dr. Fry, having gone through a radical mastectomy, decided to grow her own cannabis to offset the many complications she was receiving from Chemo. Mr. Schafer suffers from hemophilia and wrenched back, and is under constant care, has also chosen to treat himself with Medical Marijuana.
Dr. Fry and Mr. Schafer also grew for patients of Dr. Fry who sought the relief provided by cannabis who were being otherwise ravaged by the effects of the drugs prescribe by their primary-care doctors. The couple never growing more than forty-four plants at one time.
Trying to be transparent during this time, they tried to enlist the aid of local officials, state Attorney Bill Lockyer, the Eldorado Sheriff’s department, in attempt to be forthright and find a collaboration with the local law enforcement community, in an effort to show the positive aspects of their endeavors and Medical Marijuana.
This was all well and good, but in the process, their staff was charging TEN WHOLE AMERICAN DOLLARS for the delivery fee.
The Couple was raided again.
"We fired anyone who wasn't following the code of the law," Schafer said.
According to Schafer, the couple had never grown more than 44 plants in a given year. But much to his astonishment, there’s a little known fact that under federal law more than 100 plants grown in a five year period, accumulatively, is cause for the mandatory five-year sentence, overriding state laws.
"We weren't selling the medical cannabis to my patients," Fry said. "We had staff and were charging $10 for delivery only, and that's a common practice today."
Then the absurdity of their trial kicked-in.
"The judge wouldn’t allow any medical evidence. They wouldn't let us tell the jury I was sick, or that I was a doctor," Fry said. "They wouldn’t allow that I was helping sick patients. Ironically, two years before the raid, local authorities asked me to tell them who of my patients were 'really' sick, and who wasn't." I told them it wasn't my job to police my patients, and "When I was in the thick of helping people, I knew it was the right thing to do," she said. "Cannabis helped me immensely when I was going through cancer."
Dr. Fry is a product of seven generations of doctors in her family tree. Her grandfather, Dr. Francis Marion Pottenger, played a part in curing tuberculosis in the early 1900’s and her grandmother studies under Carl Jung in the 50’s. Her mother was also a physician.
"Cannabis is proven medicine. Why would the state of California create laws based on what the people want, and then allow the federal Government to override them?" Fry asks. "I had cancer, we were growing medicine. I was helping people."
Yesterday in California, Governor Jerry Brown in an effort to try to stop the state from financially bleeding to death, slashed somewhere between 7 and ten BILLION dollars. He still needs to find another 14 billion so California doesn’t have to send their kids to Arizona for an education.
Last year, around 6,500 prisoners were released due to over-crowding and not having the bucks for our rising correctional costs. Not to get too sensationalized in print, that creep, Phillip Garrido, who had kidnapped a young lady and was discovered in 2009 that he kept her hidden in his backyard for eighteen years, was let go under a similar release program. But the police didn’t follow his activities or scrutinize his movements because he wasn’t an apparent law-breaker like Dr. Fry and Mr. Schafer.
The United States has the highest documented record of incarceration, in the world.
A governor doesn’t need the permission of the state’s governing boards to let out prisoners. He already has that power, it’s called a pardon. Like in the old time movies when the tension builds as warden waits for the call from the governor to commute Humphrey Bogart’s sentence. Jerry Brown could pardon this couple tomorrow if he wished. Our governor has made it clear that he is not jumping on the cannabis movement in any form or shape. Wouldn’t be prudent.
Howard Zinn says, “You can’t be neutral on a moving train.”
This isn’t an issue of Medical Marijuana or state budgets; it’s a matter of common sense. Dr. Fry and Mr. Schafer are not criminals but now are defined as such by the State of California. We have spent millions prosecuting a couple that if they lived fifty miles to their west, might not have the complications they are experiencing in the state’s capitol city.
No one’s ever going to hand you your freedoms, sometimes you just have to take it.
Call the governor, your state person, the people in Sacramento, wherever your voice or dollars can make a change.
Dr. Fry's license to practice has been revoked for some time now, as has her husband's license to practice law. The couple's grown children with grandkids have moved back home to help with finances and save the family home. A Pay Pal account has been set up for donations. "Cool Madness," a book written about the trial by author Vanessa Williams is available online through StoptheDrugWar.org, Amazon.com or other online booksellers, or directly at the "Cool Madness" web site. Donations and correspondence of support can also be sent to the family, P.O. Box 634, Cool, CA 95614.
Jerry Brown can be reached 916-445-2841.
This article was based in part on the writings and research of Sharon Letts.