By Charles Lam
By R. Scott Moxley
By Taylor Hamby
By Matt Coker
By R. Scott Moxley
By Charles Lam
By LP Hastings
By Taylor Hamby
Depending on your perspective, Jason D. Andrews is either an anachronistic victim of America's lingering reefer madness, or he's the luckiest criminal defendant in the recent annals of the war on weed.
Seventeen years after California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 215, the so-called "Compassionate Use Act," many medical-marijuana activists continue to face criminal prosecution, often without the ability to even mention "medical marijuana" in their own defense. Andrews, a Fullerton resident and founder of the Pro215.com cannabis collective, is one of them.
That said, it's hard to imagine a more bizarre story of how this particular pot activist ended up in the crosshairs of the law. In fact, you could kind of say he volunteered for the job.
Following a 25-year construction career, Andrews suffered four ruptured discs in his spine thanks to a pair of car crashes. He also says he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder because his mother bled to death in his arms 15 years ago after throat surgery gone wrong. In 2008, after years of self-medicating with marijuana, he got a physician's statement allowing him to grow and possess up to 52 ounces of cannabis per year, as well as a state-issued primary caregiver's card. The next year, he filed articles of incorporation and obtained a seller's permit for Pro215.com, a public benefit corporation with the stated purpose of providing "medicine to patients who are unable to provide for themselves."
Through his collective, Andrews grew marijuana and provided it to people who qualified to smoke cannabis under state law. Any leftover pot was provided to other collectives of which he was a member, including Mark Moen's ill-fated 215 Agenda (see "Marijuana Martyr," April 9, 2010) and Cafe Vale Tudo, both of which were located in the same Lake Forest mini-mall until city officials backed by federal prosecutors succeeded in forcing the landlord to evict them at the risk of losing his property.
On Oct. 12, 2010, Andrews and his wife, also a card-carrying cannabis patient, visited the Cafe Vale Tudo collective with a pound of marijuana. "I asked them if they wanted it, and they said 'no,'" Andrews says. "They owed me some money, and I left with an IOU and the pound of medicine I brought with me." As it turned out, a pair of Orange County sheriff's detectives were sitting in the parking lot, surveilling the dispensary. They followed Andrews' black Dodge Ram pickup truck northbound on Interstate 5 and pulled him over near Tustin Ranch Road.
According to the detectives' report on the incident, they could smell a "strong odor of marijuana" when they approached the truck. Andrews appeared nervous, the report states, and he "continued to talk about medical marijuana without being questioned." Inside a bag, they found two 8-ounce sacks of marijuana, as well as $5,800 in cash, much of it rubber-banded in rolls of $20 bills. Andrews also had approximately $600 in his wallet.
According to Andrews, the money was change from when he purchased a $5,000 ring for his wife with proceeds from a "car settlement." However, based on the pot and cash in the car, as well as numerous text messages on Andrews' cell phone with exchanges such as "Just cut down 10 pounds of the Super silver haze" and "How much is a q of the bubba," the detectives surmised that "Jason may have been selling marijuana." After seizing both the marijuana and the money, detectives cited Andrews for speeding and released him, "pending further investigation."
Weeks went by, and no charges were filed—although he wasn't getting his cash back any time soon. Andrews might have considered himself lucky and walked away. Instead, by his own admission, he began telephoning the detectives and, eventually, the Orange County district attorney's office, demanding to know whether he was going to be prosecuted. "Because I'm an activist, I started calling the sheriffs who pulled me over, the DA, watch commanders, captains. I asked the same question: 'What is your process regarding the California ID card? Don't you know how to verify it?'"
Finally, all those calls appeared to pay off. Andrews says an exasperated detective told him "if I didn't stop harassing him, he'd file charges." The following Monday, Andrews checked the sheriff's department website for arrest warrants and saw his name on the list, he says. He retained an experienced marijuana defense attorney, Christopher Glew, and went to court. Immediately, according to Glew, prosecutors offered Andrews an amazing deal: Cop to a misdemeanor charge of pot possession, commit no crimes for a year, and the case will disappear from your record. He refused.
"The information I received was that the case was filed because of Mr. Andrews' incessant hounding of law enforcement," Glew says. "They were just going to let it go, but there were several offers he rejected to make sure he had his day in court."
Andrews testified in his defense during the summer 2012 trial, and, according to Glew, he acquitted himself well. "He didn't dodge any questions," Glew says. "It's always a gamble, but it probably helped him because he was brutally honest." Unfortunately, Glew adds, the judge refused to allow him to mention medical marijuana in his closing arguments, thus hamstringing his trial strategy at the proverbial 11th hour. "If you can't mention state law, the Compassionate Use Act, then there is no defense," Glew explains. "I had to stand in front of the jury and tell them that Mr. Andrews' actions were legitimate, but I couldn't mention any evidence."
I Like this man and don't know him. Thanks for standing up for all of us. Not everyone has the stomach to pursue and prevail.
OC is so whiny and full of themselves. ICK Juror had a meeting sounds about right for OC
Good for him, OC law is crazy. "You fit the description of something, so I'm going to have to violate your rights continously."
Looks like some folks only read the headline, not the story. But the article does state quite clearly that the judge denied Andrews a legitimate trial by not allowing his lawyer to argue a medical marijuana defense, and that he is still facing another trial. It's also true that Andrews passed up on offers that would have avoided that trial in the first place. He wanted his day in court and got it; given the trial happened in Orange County, he truly lucked out with the jury. It would be ridiculous if this case actually does go before another jury in this day and age, but this is what we're stuck with in California until the law changes.
he didn't win he got a mistrial by hung jury. They are going to put him through that meat grinder again. All for nothing. Your tax dollars at work. In stead of congratulating him you should be speaking up and out about this kind of abuse of the system by the prosecutors and judges. His trial was a total farce just as bad as Joe Grumbine's. The judge in his case worked extremely hard to deny him a fair trial and if not for one lone juror who knows about jury nullification he would be in a the appeal phase and not in the second trial. The article does not go into those details so you guys are getting the wrong idea by your congratulating him. He is being prosecuted a second time for a non-offense.
Good for him, a soldier in this evil morally bankrupt war on US Citizens, prohibitionist are a disgrace.
Cops tend to have sticky fingers (specially Narc cops) Knowing that most ppl do not have the monetary means to get their property back via the courts, it's the perfect crime. And as you found out, if you don't go away they will work together to keep messing with you.
Wish you the best luck. Be careful with those assholes.
Ill be in Court on Jan 14, 2014 getting ready for another trial.. The first one cost over $150000.00 and the second one is going to cost more.. I have not finished fighting and "Winning" comes when it is all over and I get all my Car settlement money back and my medicine... Thanks Nich for the great article.
I was followed by two Detectives who then had a Sheriff come and go 110 MPH down the freeway to pull behind me slow down and pull me over, While they went and had coffee, They were then called out to a random drug stop which happened to be the car they followed and had pulled over. There exact words. No Cop, D.A. or Judge has ever verified my Dr.s Rec, State I.D. or State Caregiver cards or my Patient passengers Dr.s Rec, or State I.D...
11362.78. A state or local law enforcement agency or officer shall not refuse to accept an identification card issued by the department unless the state or local law enforcement agency or officer has reasonable cause to believe that the information contained in the card is false or fraudulent, or the card is being used fraudulently.
My only question to anyone is? When do my rights take effect as a Patient and Caregiver?
Jason D. Andrews
As ridiculous as it is and would be, it would also be par for the course in Orange County. The County of Orange is a serial and habitual offender in this area. In fact, several cases that are used as defense arguments throughout the state are originated out of Orange County. The Wright decision which laid the basis for the landmark Kelly decision, is out of Huntington beach. The Chakos case is out of Rancho Santa Marguerrita. There are others but these are the two most prominent. In fact , one could make an argument that The OC is setting itself up for a massive Civil RICO statute case that could cost the county MILLIONS.