Michigan medical patient crashes

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Michigan medical patient crashes

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Apr 07, 2006 12:35 pm

Traverse City Record Eagle wrote:04/07/2006
Medical pot proponent in trouble with law again
Matthew Barber helped lead pot effort in TC


<img src=http://www.palmspringsbum.com/bbs/bin/07barber.jpg align=right title="Michael Barber">
KALKASKA — A Traverse City man who touted marijuana use as the lone remedy that curbs his multiple sclerosis symptoms is in legal trouble again.

Matthew Barber, 33, is charged with driving without a valid license and possession of marijuana, both misdemeanors, after a one-vehicle rollover accident in February, said Kalkaska County Prosecutor Brian Donnelly.

Donnelly said Kalkaska County sheriff's officials allegedly found two ounces of marijuana in Barber's vehicle during the crash investigation.

Barber's vehicle struck a telephone pole and rolled over on M-72 on Feb. 6, Undersheriff Bruce Gualtiere said.

"When they righted the vehicle, a plastic baggy with suspected marijuana was found," he said. "Mr. Barber apparently claimed it was his and for medicinal purposes."

Barber was arrested at the scene.

He also was arrested Traverse City in June 2004 while in possession of two ounces of marijuana in a vehicle. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to 90 days of probation, $345 in fines, and 30 days of house supervision.

Diagnosed with M.S. in 2001, Barber said he exhausted all legal forms of treatment for a disease that affects the central nervous system.

Donnelly said he won't offer a plea deal, despite Barber's contention that marijuana eases his symptoms.

"There are cases where I would offer some kind of a break to a guy, but in this case the reason I haven't is because this is not his first offense," he said. "One option would be to raise the charge to a double penalty, but it does not seem justified in this case, either."

Detroit attorney Matthew Abel said he's filed several motions on Barber's behalf in an attempt to challenge the constitutionality of state marijuana laws. He said Barber was not under the influence when the accident occurred.

"I take the cases as I find them and there are some facts that are not pretty in this case," he said. "But he was not under the influence and they didn't take any of his blood. It was a slippery day and he went off the road due to the ice."

Barber has not had a valid license since 2005 and has had several driving violations — including restrictions and suspensions — dating to 1998, Michigan Secretary of State records show.

Abel, a member of the state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), said he took Barber's case as part of an ongoing fight against marijuana prohibition.

"I think the legislature should change the law, but they have had 30 years and they have been unwilling or unable," he said. "I intend to fight every marijuana case that I can to the full extent. We are trying to get someone to take a rational look at this."

After Barber's 2004 legal troubles, his wife, Laura Barber, started the Coalition for Compassionate Care. The group petitioned for a new Traverse City ordinance that would designate the possession, delivery or use of marijuana by a medical patient to be "the lowest law enforcement priority of the city."

City voters in November passed the ordinance by a margin of 1,594 to 925.

Barber told the Record-Eagle in 2004 that without marijuana, he has pain and spasms, imbalance, dizziness, the loss of leg function and sometimes even blindness.

Donnelly said he doesn't completely buy Barber's medical marijuana argument, especially since he was behind the wheel without a valid license.

"He made a statement that he uses it for medical reasons, but if he rolled his car, maybe it isn't working so good," he said. "For a guy who has both an expired and restricted license, he would appear to me to be a guy that does not follow the law and doesn't seem to believe the rules apply to him."
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Postby rsteeb » Thu Aug 17, 2006 5:56 pm

And now Michigan's Supreme Court has upheld their terrible "Detectable Trace=DUI" law/atrocity.

Guess I can never go home to Ann Arbor now.

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