Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Monday, May 08, 2006

Francisco trial, June 15 & 16 [EFSDP]

"the sum of the evidence against me is a twig the size of a toothpick found
in about an inch of dirt on the floor that may not even be cannabis --could
be hops which I grow on my farm"

staggering in its disproportionate response..... / Blair

From: Greg & Amy Francisco <>
To: MINORML <>,,
Sent Lte <>
Organization: Educators for Sensible Drug Policy
Subject: EFSDP: Francisco trial, June 15 & 16

Fellow activists:

One of the hardest things for me to do is to toot my own horn. Must be
the midwesterner in me. Sometimes I look at people like
Adam B and his knack for self promotion with envy. This is certainly a time
when I wish I could be more like that. Anyway, here goes.

Preparations for my trial continue to move forward. It is still scheduled for June 15 & 16. From all feedback I have received I expect a
good turn-out. Please, not for my good, but for the good of our larger
movement, if at all possible do attend. The trial will be held at District
Court 7-B, 1007 Wells St., South Haven, MI, 49090. The courthouse is located in a backwater (literally) of South Haven, back beyond the boat yards and marinas. Probably the best way to get directions would be to go to and enter the address. Trial scheduled to begin at 9:00 am,
hopefully we can have demonstrators and such in place a good hour previous
to that.

I have made arrangements with a local motel for a reduced rate. It will
be tourist season by then and South Haven is a tourist town so I had to do a
bit of shopping around for the best rate. I have reserved a block of
rooms at the Comfort Suites, 1755 Phoenix St, South Haven, MI 49090 under my
name. Their telephone is (269) 639-2014. Price is $85/night plus tax.
They would only agree to hold the rooms until May 15 and then regular rates
go back into effect so if you plan to stay there, you'll need to confirm
your reservation this week. The motel is right off the expressway and only
a mile or so from the courthouse.

Alternately free camping is available at the Willow Ranch, 125 60th St,
Grand Junction, MI. Bim may also have a few spare beds in the house but
you'll have to make your own arrangements directly with him on that. or (269) 253-4306 The Willow Ranch is located about
8 miles east of South Haven.

The evening of June 15 we are planning on gathering at the Willow Ranch.
Bonfire, jam session and just all around good fellowship. For those who
have never been to the Willow Ranch I can promise a good time, ala Rainbow
Farm (on a much smaller scale). We can also do a pot luck style dinner if
there is interest in order to keep costs down. Please observe the 3 basic
rules of the Willow Ranch, No guns, no hard liquor, no Elvis impersonaters.

My case continues to generate national attention. In just the last week
I have had conversations and e-mails from several national leaders in our
movement including Jack Cole of LEAP, Jude Renaud of Educators for Sensible
Drug Policies and Charles Thomas of Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative. And
that is a typical week. I continue to be just blown away. Van Buren
County has handed us a fantastic soap box and it is in all of our best
interests to seize it.

I have cultivated a couple valuable media contacts who have promised to
give this trial good coverage. Already that is paying dividends. On
April 20 I was interviewed by our local CBS affiliate on the FDA statement.
The story ended up being the lead item on that evening's news broadcast.
The sound bite of me that made the air was in response to the claim cannabis
wasn't good medicine due to "unacceptable" side effects. I first pointed
out what anyone who has had a script filled lately already knows--the pharmacist hands you not only yer bottle of pills but darn near a full length book listing potential side effects like kidney and liver failure, loss of hair and libido, unconciousness, even sudden death. Now contrast that with the side effects of cannabis--mild euphoria and a general sense of well being. Asked why allowing sick people to feel better is an "unacceptable" side effect? We just can't buy coverage like this.

Anyway, I also talked with the reporter about my case and she indicated that she would give it coverage. I indicated to her that there would be a large turnout of sign waving demonstrators to provide them some good
visuals. Please don't make me a liar. I am resigned to the fact that I may very well be convicted on this. That's not the point. I'm willing to take a "hit for the team," if it will advance our cause. And I really don't expect much more than a slap on the wrist anyway. Of course Michigan law mandates that I will lose my professional license and hence my career but I've already moved on anyway and the thought of ever going back into the classroom again makes me a lot more queazy than going to court.

My refusal to budge one inch and take any sort of plea agreement has already set Van Buren County back on their heels. Frankly, I don't think they quite know what to do with me and are wishing they had just honored the "No prosecution in exchange for resignation" agreement. From an original charge of felony Drug Free School Zone, 3rd offense, with a possibility of 4
yrs in state prison they have reduced it several times until now I'm facing
a simple misdemeanor possession, 1st offense with a max of 90 days in the County pokie and a $100 fine. And even that is remote--the last time we were in court the Prosecutor looked over at us and said he was inclined to ask for no jail, no fine, no costs, if I would only just plead guilty and take the conviction (and of course surrender my teaching certificate, shut up, go away and stop making waves). I've already seen all the jail time I'm going to on this one, I'm confident on that.

Again, I remind you, the sum of the evidence against me is a twig the size of a toothpick found in about an inch of dirt on the floor that may not even be cannabis --could be hops which I grow on my farm and after almost a full year, and despite repeated requests, Van Buren County has YET to produce the
evidence to my defense team for an independent examination--and a vague reference in the original police report to some "roach material" (a bit of charred paper half the size of my little finger nail) which has now mysteriously evaporated into thin air and is quite likely the residue of one of my adult son's hand rolled tobacco cigarettes. This was found in my locked, parked truck which was searched without probable cause, warrant or consent. Even the police have conceded that much.

The last thing, and this is the most difficult of all for me to discuss--it's that damn ethnic Dutch pride in me--this has created a
tremendous financial drain on Amy and I. Our household income has esssentially been slashed by 50%. Fortunately we do have our own business to fall back on--a wool mill. I have been working day and night to build that up in order to replace lost income. And the business is booming, we can sell pretty much everything we produce. But I am plowing any profits right back into the business and not taking any draw whatsoever. I can not/will not ask for outright donations--see sentence #1 of this paragraph. But I would certainly welcome any business anyone can send our way. Our website can be found at Please, if you know anyone who is a hand spinner, knitter, felter or crafter who works with natural fibers, send them our way. I have also created a limited line of felted pouches/purses specifically to raise money for my legal fund (and Matt is giving me one heck of a good deal and a payment plan on his fees--I really appreciate that cause he's got to eat, too). Ordinarily these purses would retail for $25 to $50 but there is no set amount in this case. Probably too late for Mother's Day next Sunday but they would make tremendous gifts as well.

Very much look forward to seeing one and all next month. As Richard L. often points out--It's not what others do, it's what YOU do.

Thank you. And please feel free to distribute this to any other lists.

Greg Francisco
(269) 628-4340
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