An interesting news story came out of Costa Mesa yesterday, where a medical marijuana activist was arrested in front of Mother's Market. The activist, Deborah Tharp, was attempting to gather signatures for a proposed ballot initiative that would demand Costa Mesa city officials end their crackdown on marijuana dispensaries. Tharp had been ordered to leave, and when she refused, police arrested her for trespassing.
Here's the interesting part: for reasons that remain unclear, Tharp retained as her attorney none other than Orly Taitz, the wacky and pretty much completely discredited lawyer who keeps trying to prove President Barack Obama was born in Kenya.
In an interview with the Daily Pilot, which broke news of Thorpe's arrest yesterday, Taitz did a decent job of not sounding as completely insane as usual. She's already flushed her legal career and credibility down the toilet. “This was just intimidation and harassment of a journalist there to gather petitions,” Taitz, who apparently doesn't understand the difference between journalism and signature gathering, said. “Miss Tharp did not commit any crime. If Mother's Market did not want her gathering signatures, they could've filed a civil matter.”
Other activists involved in the proposed ballot initiative say they've been attempting to gather signatures at local Stater Brothers and Trader Joe's stores, and that unlike a lot of folks who greet you on your way out of the check-out lane, they just sit quietly at a table and talk to people about their views on medical marijuana. Nonetheless, they said, the stores have repeatedly sought to have them leave voluntarily, because certain customers have complained about their cause. “It's definitely an uphill battle,” said one activist, who added that he also has been walking door-to-door trying to gather support.
In her interview with the Pilot, Taitz added that she plans to sue the city of Costa Mesa, it's police department, and Mother's Market over Tharp's arrest. Clearly, now that Taitz has joined the party, medical marijuana's future in this country is guaranteed, as in guaranteed to be viewed as a total joke.
Award-winning investigative journalist Nick Schou is managing editor of OC Weekly. He is the author of Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb (Nation Books 2006), which provided the basis for the 2014 Focus Features release starring Jeremy Renner and the L.A. Times-bestseller Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love’s Quest to bring Peace, Love and Acid to the World, (Thomas Dunne 2009). He is also the author of The Weed Runners (2013) and Spooked: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood (2016).