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LOS ANGELES – A South Central grandmother who served in Vietnam is in court Wednesday, suing the Los Angeles Police Department for harassment after they destroyed her supply of medical marijuana four years in a row.
Sister Somayah Kambui appears before the Hon. Robert Hess to argue the merits of the 15 causes of action she is bringing against the department, which she says has been maliciously targeting her. She is suing for the return of her seized property and punitive damages, as well as for injunctive and declaratory relief.
“The police have been cruel and calculating in their actions,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group that is providing Sister Somayah with legal assistance. “Every year they show up right at harvest time and take her medicine; they’re trying to make it hurt as much as possible.”
Sister Somayah suffers from Sickle Cell disease, for which she has a doctor’s recommendation to use marijuana to ease the severe episodes of pain. Since 1993 she has run a Sickle Cell patient support group from her home and conducted research on therapeutic cannabis, some of which has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine and elsewhere. In March 2002 she was acquitted in state court under the Compassionate Use Act, allowing her to grow medical cannabis. Six months later LAPD raided her garden again and uprooted her 25 plants. Agents returned again in October 2003. She’s asking the court to make them stop.
WHO: Sister Somayah Kambui, medical marijuana patient
WHAT: Harassment lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department, seeking damages, return of property and injunctive relief
WHEN: Wednesday, June 9, 2004, 8:30am
WHERE: Stanley Mosk Courthouse, 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, Department 24 Judge Robert Hess
For interviews or more information, contact William Dolphin at (510) 919-1498. A national coalition of 10,000 patients, doctors and advocates, Americans for Safe Access is the largest organization working solely on medical marijuana.