MEDICAL TALK OF POT NOT ALLOWED
M.S. Patient Would Have to Produce Records
TRAVERSE CITY - Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Dennis LaBelle filed
a motion to suppress any talk of medical marijuana in future criminal
proceedings of Matthew Barber.
Barber, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001, was arrested in
June after officers found two ounces of marijuana - equivalent to a
month's supply for his symptoms, he said - in the vehicle his wife,
Laura, was driving during a traffic stop.
Barber, 30, says he has exhausted all legal, and expensive, forms of
treatment for the disease that affects the central nervous system and
turned to marijuana for relief after it was suggested to him by a
LaBelle said an alternative move to the motion filed last week in
district court would be for Barber to produce medical records that
specifically outline his need to use the drug.
Barber, an Army veteran who served in the first Gulf War, said without
the marijuana he has pain and spasms, imbalance, dizziness, the loss
of leg function and sometimes even blindness.
Attorney Clarence Gomery, who is defending Barber, said as a former
prosecuting attorney in Leelanau County he understands LaBelle's
motion and its legal correctness.
Gomery said he will review the motion with Barber and discuss the
options in the case.
"Mr. LaBelle has said that this is a case for the legislature and I
have to agree with him," Gomery said. "The laws would have to be
changed at the governmental level. Mr. LaBelle has no choice but to
follow and enforce the law as written."
But George Sherfield, president of the Michigan chapter of the
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), who
joined a handful of protesters during Barber's pretrial hearing July
6, said his group would rally behind Barber.
"If he doesn't continue to use it, he will die sooner than he should,
and they are not going to give it to him in jail," said Sherfield. "I
think that anybody that keeps medicine away from a person should go to