Redemption Song

Dave Herrick's strange odyssey through the U.S. war on drugs

Herrick is still fuming. "Armbrust has retired, but Judge Froeberg is still on the bench," he exclaimed, shaking his head in disgust. "Judges are supposed to be impartial. His days as a judge are numbered, in my opinion."

Herrick's rage is fueling a new ambition: to wreak havoc on law-enforcement officials who continue to go after legal Prop. 215 marijuana smokers by arresting them, confiscating their marijuana or ripping up their plants.

"We have to go on the offensive," Herrick said. "If you sue the police and take money away from them, they'll stop what they're doing. They don't put in their budget that 1,500 Prop. 215 smokers will sue their department for false arrest or confiscation of property. From my 15 years of experience working in law enforcement, I think the police will probably back off because that's in their best interest."

Herrick pointed out that there are already two California Supreme Court decisions that have ordered police to return marijuana to people carrying doctor's notes permitting them to grow and smoke cannabis. With that in mind, Herrick wants to establish a legal-defense fund for Prop. 215 smokers in California, something he hopes will pick up the battle where the vanquished Orange County Cannabis Co-op left off. "We need a cohesive group, whatever it is," Herrick said. "If we don't have one solid organization, this whole movement will go right down the tubes."

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