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Pot Club Owner To Fight Drug Charges

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Hempery Proprieter Booked For Possession, Transport, Intent To Sell

A Hayward medical marijuana dispensary owner plans to defend herself
against felony drug possession charges in a case that could be one of the
first tests of a related new state law.

Cheryl Adams, who owns the Hayward Hempery and its Hayward Patient Group,
was arrested at 12:20 a.m. on Dec. 12 in front of the TownPlace Suites
hotel at 39802 Cedar Blvd., Newark, where she had been living. She
allegedly was driving with 5.32 pounds of marijuana in 29 separate small
plastic bags, said Newark police Sgt. Fred Zachau.

Adams was on her way home from work after picking up her 7-year-old son
from a baby sitter, she said. She brought her product home because her
on-site safe isn't working and her facility was burglarized recently, she said.

Adams was charged and arraigned on felony counts of possession of marijuana
for sale, transportation of drugs, and possession of a cannabis
concentrate, or hash, said Alameda County Assistant District Attorney
Richard Klemmer.

She also was arrested on misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence,
being under the influence of a drug, and possession of drug paraphernalia,
Zachau said. But the district attorney is only pursuing the felony counts.

Adams, who was bailed out of Santa Rita jail after one night, said she
plans to fight the charges on behalf of herself and the patients who choose
a "more natural pain relief."

"I want to stand up for patients' rights," she said, adding that some of
her colleagues are trying to get together a legal fund. "If I just get off,
they'll keep doing this to people."

"We may have the first real show trial of SB 420," said Oakland Cannabis
Buyers' Cooperative Executive Director Jeff Jones.

Senate Bill 420, signed into law in October by former Gov. Gray Davis, not
only established a state photo identification card registry for medical
marijuana patients, it also recognizes collective groups for patients and

But the law doesn't specifically define those collectives and it's unclear
whether Adams' patient group would qualify as one.

Also, the law doesn't go into effect until Jan. 1 and might not be
applicable retroactively.

In addition, the state laws allowing the use of marijuana for medical
reasons are still in conflict with federal law, which bans marijuana
entirely. That poses a quandary for police and local prosecutors, among others.

Adams, who is in the process of changing lawyers, said she told police
about her dispensary and showed them records to prove what she does and her
own status as a medical marijuana patient.

"They didn't hear it," she said. "They were so cold-hearted."

Adams challenged the police calculation of how much pot she possessed. She
counted more like four pounds, she said, adding that she didn't have any
cannabis concentrate.

Her concerns about her arrest go beyond the drug charges. She questions
whether she was set up because police pulled her over for a burned-out
license plate light, something she had just changed, she said.

Adams said she wanted to leave her son with her boyfriend while she went to
jail. But when police learned her boyfriend was on parole, they proceeded
to break down the hotel room door to do a search, Adams and police said.
She ended up getting kicked out of the hotel and had to pay for the broken

Her boyfriend wasn't there, so her son went to stay with her mother in
Hayward, she said.

"It was like a bad dream," she said. "They never should have pulled me over
to begin with."

Adams' arraignment on Dec. 16 took place just as she was scheduled to meet
with City Manager Jesus Armas to sign a document as part of a
grand-fathering agreement for her dispensary and two others downtown. The
dispensaries, which are operating against the city's zoning law, can exist
for a limited amount of time under certain conditions, such as limiting the
amount of product on site to 3 pounds.

Adams, who ended up signing the agreement at a later meeting with Armas,
said she averages about three pounds, but it's a difficult restriction to
abide by when she first gets the product delivered.

Her dispensary would be taken out of the agreement if police, who can
randomly inspect the facility, discover she's violating the limit or other

Pubdate: Fri, 26 Dec 2003
Source: Tri-Valley Herald (CA)
Copyright: 2003 MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG Newspapers
Contact: apacciorini@angnewspapers.com
Website: http://www.trivalleyherald.com/