Re: Watch out for Oklahoma if you are carrying herbs

Ronald J. Bartle (snuffy@snafu.de)
Sat, 12 Sep 1998 04:25:39 +0200


Thomas Cagle wrote:
> 
> --------- Begin forwarded message ----------
> From: creationsgarden@JUNO.COM
> Subject: Watch out for Oklahoma if you are carrying herbs
> Date: Fri, 11 Sep 1998 13:11:19 -0400
> 
> To herb@MyList.net from creationsgarden@juno.com:
> 
> If muellin is "imitation marajuana" in Oklahoma, then no herb is safe!
> 
> << This article appeared on the front page of the Brattleboro Reformer
> newspaper on Saturday, Sept. 5, 1998.  Permission has been obtained from
>  the Reformer's Publisher to reproduce the article anywhere so long as it
> is
>  not re-published for profit.  Please address any inquiries about the
> story
>  itself, or re-publication rights, to The Brattleboro Reformer
>  <reformer@sover.net>.
>  I have substantiated (no pun intended) the facts of this story,
> including
>  the outrageous Oklahoma statute under which charges were brought.
> George  Singleton, the victim of an obscene system run amok, is a gentle
> man of
>  great talents and abilities who runs a national effort to promote
> open-air  organic gardening in the inner cities and elsewhere.  If you
> have any
>  questions for him about his organization (HOPE LA-USA) or about this
> case,
>  you may forward them to George at <hopelausa@aol.com>.
>            --  John Wilmerding, General Secretary, CERJ
> 
>  FORWARDED MATERIAL BEGINS HERE:
>  [PHOTOGRAPH - 4"x6" - Caption:  SUBSTANTIAL IMITATION -- George
> Singleton, 49, inspects the herb garden at his Putney office Thursday
> evening.
>  Singleton faces more than a year in an Oklahoma prison on charges of
>  possessing an "imitation" controlled substance.]
> 
>  Headline:  "Local Man Faces Jail for Legal Weed"
> 
>  By Les Kozaczek, Brattleboro Reformer staff writer
>  PUTNEY, VT - George Singleton is African-American and he has dredlocks
> down
>  to his waist, so he says he's used to being "hassled" by authorities. In
>  fact, he said he's been stopped by police officers -- for no apparent
>  reason -- and searched for marijuana in states such as Texas, Ohio,
>  Virginia, and California.
> 
>  Those stops turned up nothing and he was allowed to go on his way.
> 
>  That was the scenario he envisioned when, on Feb. 27, on a business trip
>  from California to Indiana, he was stopped by a police officer in Craig
>  County, Okla.
> 
>  He admits that, though he was going 10 miles an hour below the posted 75
>  mph speed limit, his slowing car was above the legal speed limit for the
>  construction zone he was approaching.
> 
>  He also thought that the person at the toll booth he had just passed
>  through might have "pointed me out" to the police officer.  If that were
>  the case, then the officer might have seen in a background check a
>  marijuana arrest and two-week imprisonment Singleton incurred 17 years
> ago, Singleton said.  He said he has not used marijuana in years.
>  Still, Singleton said, he knew the routine.  So, when the officer asked
> to
>  search his car, Singleton, having nothing in the car except for the
> herbs
>  he was carrying as part of his job, assumed he would be on his way in no
> time.
> 
>  Twenty-five days later, Singleton, 49, was still in an Oklahoma prison.
> 
>  "The officer found some mullein and rosemary in my car.  I take them for
> my
>  tuberculosis," Singleton said Thursday evening.  "I told him it wasn't
> marijuana."
>  Despite the fact that mullein, a green-leafed, yellow-flowered plant
> that
>  grows wild, looks and smells nothing like marijuana, Singleton said the
>  officer put him in the police cruiser and drove him 10 miles, with his
>  hands cuffed behind his back, to the hospital for a blood test.
> 
>  Singleton said he was arraigned on the day he was arrested and bail was
>  posted at the unusually high $650.
> 
>  Three days later, test results of the blood samples taken at the
> time of  his arrest showed that Singleton, according to the official
> state
>  transcript, had "negative blood alcohol," and had "no basic drugs
> detected" in his blood.
> 
>  In most states, that would have elicited an apology and a ride to
>  Singleton's car, so that he could go about his business as executive
>  director of Hope LA/USA Project.
>  But, Singleton said, Oklahoma has an unusual law under which it is
> illegal
>  to possess any substance that a reasonable person might think was an
>  illegal substance.  He was not going to be freed.
> 
>  "When I found that out, all I could think was "isn't this America?"
> Singleton said.
>  The Oklahoma prosecutor could not be reached for comment Thursday
> evening.
>    Singleton, who said he holds a doctorate in herbology, makes many
> cross
>  country drives carrying herbs and other organic matter, as part of his
> job.   He said that both the "substances" that he was carrying and using
> are
>  widely used and freely available over the counter and have never been
> shown to have any effect remotely similar to any illegal drug.
>  Ironically, Singleton said, part of his Hope LA/USA program is to get
> youth
>  off drugs.  He also said he uses organic farming techniques that do away
>  with animal products and pesticides because of their toxicity.
>  "We transform inner city neighborhoods with agricultural methods rooted
> in the old ways of gardening," Singleton said.  Singleton's program, which
> has  been lauded by Los Angeles law enforcement and other institutions,
> brings together members of enemy gangs and other disaffected youth.
>  Singleton said it took his mother 25 days and $800 to work with a lawyer
> to get his bail reduced to the more usual $125 and get him out of jail.
>  Since then, Singleon has had to return from his Putney, Vermont office
> to Oklahoma twice to deal with the case.  Singleton estimates the case has
>  cost him more than $2,000 in legal, travel, and other expenses.
>    He is scheduled to return for trial on charges of possessing imitation
>  illegal drugs on Oct. 8.  He said he faces the prospect of going to
> prison
>  for a year or more and isn't too hopeful that he'll be coming back any
> time soon.

But - how come when all the other states in the US, can find ways to
incarcerate up to 10% of the black population w i t h o u t resorting to
such nefarious and ludecrous statutes as this parody of justice - is it
necessary for Okla. to resort to this BS!? 

ron b.

 
-- 
 Ron Bartle -       Royal Air Force Veteran -     Hobby Journalist
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