I receive several requests a week from defendants who suddenly find
themselves forced to defend their lives, their right to use medical cannabis
and even the Bill of Rights. This advice is intended to help medical
cannabis patients defend themselves against a predatory criminal justice
that judges them guilty, until proved innocent.

Here are the key concepts you must master to win:

Non-cooperation with tyranny is a duty: America was founded on the
premise that we have inalienable rights that cannot be separated from us by
any law or government. The drug war is unconstitutional, immoral and no
longer supported by voters or juries. Your non-cooperation with this
corrupt war on American citizens is the surest way our Constitution and Bill
of Rights can be restored.

Nonviolence: We don’t want to kill our enemies, only expose their lies
and their greed for power over others. Any form of anger on your part must
be left at the door, or it will make you no better than your adversaries and
bring failure to your efforts. Only when others sense your commitment to
the high road, will the justice you seek become possible. Those who attended
my trial saw that I always wore a suit and showed respect. I even held
doors open for my prosecutors, so they could push in their huge cart filled
with 4,000 pages of lies against me. My polite behavior only made their
accusations look more wild and ridiculous.

Use the media: Most courts will not allow you to tell your story and
you must depend upon the media to get the truth out. Focus on winning in
the court of public opinion and your victory with the jury will be assured.

Never plea bargain: This is a slippery slope. It might look like a
great idea to begin with, but in the end, you lose, every day for the rest of
your life. You won’t get what you were promised, and you’ll only endanger
others by cooperating with government terrorists.

Go all out on the preliminary hearing: Winning your preliminary
hearing means the judge will dismiss the case and your troubles are over.
Most defense attorneys will advise you to do little in your preliminary
hearing, so they can see what the prosecution’s case is about and then
prepare a defense. That is definitely the wrong tactic in a bona fide
medical marijuana case. You want an attorney who will fight with everything
you have to win your case in the prelim, regardless of the costs or time
involved. Top medical marijuana attorney J. David Nick once took a prelim
on for 18 months, until the prosecutor gave up in desperation.

Insist on a jury trial: Less than 3 percent of defendants exercise their right
to a jury trial and yet the court system is in near gridlock. Refusing to
cooperate and demanding a trial places a significant load on the criminal
justice system and is the surest way to end this phony drug war. Nearly all
medical marijuana trials end in acquittals or hung juries, so take your case
directly to your fellow citizens and trust them to see through the
prosecutor’s lies.

Target policy makers: Ignore the police and prosecutors and target
their superiors. It is sheriffs and district attorneys who are the generals in the drug
war and they are the ones who are responsible for your current grief.
Organize a recall election against your DA. Your recall will probably fail
miserably, but your DA will back off prosecuting other medical cannabis
patients, once you put a little heat to their feet.

Seek civil and criminal penalties: Use the courts and your local grand
jury to obtain indictments and convictions against rogue officials, since
this is the only thing sheriffs, police chiefs and district attorneys
understand or respect. Never forget what was done to you until every rogue
sheriff, district attorney, police chief, and judge has been brought to
justice. We owe it to all who have died and suffered horribly in this war to dedicate the rest of our lives to bringing these drug war criminals to justice.

Refuse probation: Probation is no different than plea bargaining,
because you are trading away your rights for a deal that will never work in
your favor. You are better off to take jail over probation, because
probation nearly always leads to further violations and trouble with the

Document abuses: It’s your job to document and prove abuse. Sooner or
later, a reform-minded administration will be elected and they will want to
investigate your charges and seek justice.

You are now a professional defendant. Your life will be your trial. Do
what you can to survive and remain true to the belief that you are innocent.
A law was passed five years ago that gives you the right to use, grow and possess this medicine. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe.

Good luck and remember to focus on the positive.

Steve Kubby is the founder of The American Medical Marijuana Association and played a key role in the passage of California’s Prop. 215, the statewide initiative legalizing medical use of cannabis.

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