Jury will hear evidence of Ziegler’s medical marijuana patient, caregiver status

May 22, 2006

Shayla Ashmore, Lassen County Times

At a Friday, May 19 dispositional conference and hearing to determine admissibility of evidence, Superior Court Judge Stephen Bradbury denied Prosecutor Dean Archibald’s motion to exclude defense evidence. Public Defender David Marcus claims Timothy Ziegler, 45, was both a patient and a primary caregiver under the state’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996, or California's Proposition 215. Lassen County Narcotics Task Force officers seized about 100 marijuana plants when they arrested Ziegler in September 2004.

Bradbury said the issue was one of law, not whether anyone agreed with patients growing and using marijuana. Ziegler testified that half a dozen people with doctor’s recommendations came to his cooperative to receive marijuana Ziegler obtained in the Bay Area. Bradbury ruled the defense made a sufficient showing that Ziegler was a primary caregiver.

Archibald argued that simply providing marijuana did not meet the provisions of Health and Safety Code section 11362.5 and 11362.7, the state’s medical marijuana statutes. The code sections define a primary care provider as someone who assumes responsibility for the health of another.

Bradbury said patients see doctors, surgeons, dentists and eye doctors for various needs.

"It would be rare to have, in the world of medicine, a health care provider who does it all," Bradbury said, adding many specialists assume responsibility for patients’ health.

At the hearing on Friday, Dr. William Toy, who has an office in Grass Valley, testified that he gave Ziegler a temporary recommendation for use of medical marijuana on Dec. 20, 2004, because Ziegler suffered neck and back pain due to an industrial accident in which a wall fell on him.

Toy’s recommendation expired three months later. He gave Ziegler a second three-month recommendation on Oct. 13, 2004.

Ziegler claims primary-caregiver status according to Health and Safety Code section 11362.5 and 11362.7, the state’s medical marijuana provisions.

Bradbury set a further dispositional conference for 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 13.

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