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Judge orders offender to write paper about medical marijuana

  1. MikeOLogical
    District Judge Dave Gamble ordered a 25-year-old drug offender to write a report on what the judge called “the nonsensical character” of California's medical marijuana program.

    On Tuesday, Gamble told Matthew Palazzolo to submit a paper within 90 days to him and to his counselor also discussing the defendant's realization that marijuana was a gateway drug that led to use of more powerful narcotics.

    Palazzolo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Uniform Controlled Substances Act. He was arrested at a Stateline casino parking lot in February after he sold a quarter-pound of marijuana to an informant for $1,060.

    Palazzolo, who lives in Sacramento and works for a law firm, admitted he grew the marijuana after obtaining a medical marijuana card.

    “I had a sore back,” Palazzolo said. “I used records from my chiropractor who had diagnosed I had regular back and neck pain.”

    He told Gamble he developed the pain through activities like snowboarding, wakeboarding and martial arts.

    “I was never laid up or in bed,” he said.

    “So you decided to grow your own?” Gamble asked. “If this isn't testimony to the absolute asininity of medical marijuana laws in California and the path Nevada is choosing.

    “Here's a young man with a bachelor's degree and a rosy future and now is a potential felon. It's just the height of stupidity,” Gamble said.

    Palazzolo's attorney Derrick Lopez said the arrest and substance abuse treatment convinced his client he had a drug problem.

    “He's been abusing drugs for a long time,” Lopez said. "He changed roommates, got rid of all his marijuana, and asked California to void his medical marijuana card."

    “He would benefit from diversion. He has never been in trouble before except the marijuana. He is really embarrassed about this situation,” Lopez said.

    Palazzolo admitted he obtained the card for recreational drug use.

    “I have a drug problem, and I would not have said that a month and a half ago,” he said. “Alcohol and marijuana are gateway drugs that led to harder drug use.”

    He said drug use had taken him down “a path that is a very ugly place” and he intended to stay sober.

    Gamble allowed Palazzolo to enter a diversion program in California and ordered quarterly appearances before his court and random drug testing.

    He also told the defendant to contact “the quasi-bureaucratic outfit in California and tell them you want them to cancel the card.”

    Gamble told Palazzolo he had one chance.

    “You have the ability to have a very good life,” Gamble said. “If you're back here, you don't get two chances.”

    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    by Sheila Gardner



  1. godztear
    What a bunch of bullshit. A sell out. He is speaking words to get a lesser sentence, it's far to obvious.

    I'm surprised his testimony of gateway to harder drugs even flew. That's been the propaganda for years.
  2. Phenoxide
    Obviously he is doing it to avoid jail time, but this is more about the judge taking a stand. I think he raises a valid point too. It's apparent that the defendant should never have been issued a medical marijuana card to begin with, so where did the system fail? While the paper the judge wants him to write is horribly flawed, I'm sure the intent is purely to put the medical marijuana policy under further scrutiny.

    If the guy has no previous drug-related convictions, he's struck the best plea he could have hoped for. Although the paper demanded is factually questionable, it's actually a pretty level-headed and reasonable verdict. It draws attention to a system that can put the judiciary in a difficult position rather than needlessly incarcerating a defendant who is hardly a menace to society.

    Can't say I disagree with the action to be honest. In principle acceptance of medical marijuana is a fine system. The application (i.e. the seeming readiness to give out cards to people that patently do not need them, inconsistent regulation, and conflicts with federal law) has been pretty farcical.
  3. xenos
    The punishment may not be cruel, but it sure is unusual!
    Thx for sharing
  4. godztear
    I see your point. Be it legal to be prescribed marijuana for whatever reason is just the same as being prescribed codeine for pain. Abuse is still abuse.

    Still though, the whole thing is a performance on both sides. Drug convicts in China get executed, this man gets to reiterate an already overplayed statement for his punishment.
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