Advocate's Attorney Argue for his Release

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The420Guy

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Feb 19, 00
Sacramento Bee (CA) Copyright: 2000
The Sacramento Bee
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MEDICAL MARIJUANA ADVOCATE'S ATTORNEYS ARGUE FOR HIS RELEASE SACRAMENTO (AP) -- Attorneys for a Trinity County man who was the first to try using the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law as a defense argued Friday that he should be released on bail while he appeals his conviction. B.E. Smith, a proponent of Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, was convicted in May of felony marijuana possession and cultivation. He is serving a 27 month prison sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution at Sheridan, Ore. Tom Ballanco and David M. Michael, Smith's attorneys, argued in U.S. District Court that Smith should be allowed to be free while the court considers the appeal. In September 1997, federal agents seized 87 marijuana plants Smith planted on federal land near his home. Two months later, Smith was charged in a federal grand jury indictment. Smith's lawyers say he was only providing marijuana to people who needed it for medicinal reasons. Proposition 215, approved in 1996, permits the growth and consumption of pot for medical use. "There's not a danger that he's going to go out now and become something he'd never been," Ballanco argued. Prosecutors say Smith has a history of using marijuana and that his lawyers are trying to paint him as a martyr for the cause.