Image of spinning marijuana leaf.
Morongo Valley

Since April 20, 2003

News Articles about my Morongo Valley bust.

KESQ News, Local medical marijuana patient evicted, 4 Dec 03

the d, Medical Marijuana raises questions, 29 Dec 03

San Bernardino Sun, Medical pot user files claim, 18 May 04



Last Update: February 22, 2009

On Thanksgiving 2003 I was raided by the San Bernardino Sheriffs at the behest of my landlord and jailed for cultivation of cannabis. Arrested with me was Lanny Swerdlow of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project in Palm Springs. Lanny was cited and released after about eight hours at about 4 in the morning from Joshua Tree, in the middle of nowhere in the high desert. He walked and hitched back to his vehicle and managed to come up with $10,000 cash to bail me out of jail. When I returned my home was trashed, my grow was destroyed, I had no medicine, my landlord gave me Three Days to get out, and I was flat broke. Additionally, the sheriffs had my computer which they kept for six months. This made it virtually impossible to defend myself. With Lanny's unwavering support I became the first person to have Felony Cultivation of Marijuana charges dismissed in San Bernardino County, California on April 1, 2004. Below are the records of what transpired presented in a timeline.

November 25th, 2003

When I realized I was getting busted, I sent out emails, called friends and began a thread about it in forums

my living room in Morongo Valley
Doctor's Recommendations

Personal Accounts

  • Lanny's Statement - 123
  • 1st encounter with sheriff - 123
  • 2nd encounter with sheriff - 1234

Official Documents

December 1, 2003

After I returned home from jail Thanksgiving morning I took inventory and then left to stay with friends for 5 days, until December 1st. When I returned Bonita had put a 3-day notice on my door and was beating on my windows and screaming at me. She even unlocked my door and tried to force her way into my apartment.

Image of the window over my desk at night with my landlady, Bonita Millard, clearly visible peering at me through the glass. View of the broken window from inside my bedroom width large cracks in the glass clearly visible. View of my front door showing a smashed potted juniper. A view of the entrance to my apartment with Bonita hanging on the fence -not- blocking my entrance. Image of Lanny Swerdlow at a medical marijuana demonstration.

December 4, 2003

December 10, 2003

  • Eviction:  Inland Counties - letter
  • 10 Dec 03, notes - 1

December 11, 2003

  • DFEH:  Inland Fair Housing - letter
  • 14 Dec 03, notes - 1
  • 17 Dec 03, notes - 1
  • 18 Dec 03, notes - 12345
  • 19 Dec 03, notes - 1
  • 19 Dec 03, photos - 1
  • 24 Dec 03, notes - 1
  • 26 Dec 03, notes - 1
  • 27 Dec 03, notes - 1

December 29, 2003

January 12, 2004

January 16, 2004

January 17, 2004

January 23, 2004

  • Eviction:   complaint - 1234  summons - 12
  • 25 Jan 04, notes - 1

January 27, 2004

January 29, 2004

  • Eviction:  Inland Counties - memo
  • 31 Jan 04, notes - 1
  •  2 Feb 04, notes - 1
  •  5 Feb 04, notes - 123
  •  7 Feb 04, notes - 1
  • 10 Feb 04 - photos 1
  • 10 Feb 04, notes - 123

February 13, 2004

  • Eviction:  plaintiff brief - 1  2

February 17, 2004

February 18, 2004

February 22, 2004

March 9, 2004

March 10, 2004

  • Eviction:   60-day notice,  proof of service
  • On March 10th I attempted to pay Bonita rent with a check for $385. She refused stating it wasn't enough, that the agreement was $485 for rent and utilities. At that point I asked her to put the agreement in writing, indicating that I would pay on that condition. She refused and gave me the check back. Within 5 minutes she had a 60-day notice posted.

    Two days later I attempted to pay again, with a witness, with 2 checks; 1 for $385 for rent, and 1 for $100 for utilities. I also included a letter outlining the verbal agreement. At first she refused saying it wasn't enough. I asked her if she looked at the checks. She did, saw they totalled $485 and took them and the letter. I and my friend returned to my apartment.

    A few minutes later she was at my door screaming. She tore up the checks and the letter....

    Image of people inside the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club about 1995.
  • 11 Mar 04, letter
  • 12 Mar 04, letter
  • 12 Mar 04, letter
  • 15 Mar 04, letter
  • 20 Mar 04, notes

April 1, 2004

  • Felony:  dismissal
  • Felony:  press release
  • overgrow thread - dismissed
  • 8 Apr 04, notes
  • The day after the dismissal the electrical system on my car shorted out. So I spent a week homebound, unable to go anywhere. When I got home after having it fixed, and discovered my power had been turned off, I left for 5 days to stay with friends. I simply couldn't take it here anymore.

    “... defendant was not cultivating marijuana only for medical use, as shown by his offer to plaintiff of brownies containing marijuana.” Intended Decision - 20 Jul 04, page 2
  • 18 Apr 04, notes

April 22, 2004

  • DFEH:  complaint - 123
  • Bonita taped the following on my window, next to my door; a letter entitled "Californians duped on Medical Marijuana Law" with a yellow stickem on it on which was written "This is only the beginning", and a 7-page printout from the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

  • Eviction: letter - with stickemwithout stickem  NIDA reprint - 1234567
  • Deputy Dougan returning my property
  • 22 Apr 04, notes - 22 Apr 04

April 23, 2004

  • San Bernardino 'guidelines' - 12

May 6, 2004

  • DFEH:  Mediation - 12
  • DFEH:  HUD assigns an investigator - 12

May 7, 2004

  • Felony:  Return of Property, Motion - 1234567
  • I was told this motion accidentally got into the judge's basket prematurely, and he signed it and the order in error. It was vacated May 18th and the same motion was heard and granted on May 26th, and the order signed on May 27th.

    Deputy Dougan returning my property
  • 8 May 04, notes - 1

May 11, 2004

  • Felony:  Order for Return of Property - 1234
  • Felony:  Claim against San Bernardino County - 12Return Receipt

May 17, 2004

  • Eviction:  Unlawful detainer #2, complaint - 12345
  • Eviction:  Unlawful detainer #2, summons - 12
  • About 3 pm Friday afternoon Mr. Sassnet left a message on my voicemail (which I received about 3:30) that the order for return of property was signed. Lanny sent out press releases (not one showed) and I went down to the courthouse Monday the 17th at 10 pm. The order and a copy were ready at the public defender's when I arrived.

    When I took it over to the sheriff's station the said they needed a case number that he didn't have a clue what this was about. So I went back to the public defender's where they told me the case number was on the order. So I went back to the sheriff's who said that didn't help them that they needed the DR number. So I got the files out of my car and found the number they wanted. When he saw the number he immediately said he didn\'t have that, it was in San Bernardino. I had already announced at this point I felt like I was getting the run around.

    If Lanny hadn't been at the courthouse talking to some people I would have left at that time. As it was, while we were trying to figure out what to do the deputy came out and gave me a phone number, telling me I had to call Dougan (the one who authorized the raid in the first place) to get my stuff back.

    At first he said he didn't know anything about it, and he asked for the judges name and the date, which I gave him. Then he asked what was on it and I began to read each item.

    Before I could finish he asked to call me back.

    Lanny and I waited in the parking lot of the courthouse.

    After about 15-30 minutes Dougan called back to tell me there was a hearing scheduled on the 26th May that Sassnet didn't know about and accused Sassnet of dropping the ball.

    At first he tried to tell me some bull that he couldn't return evidence. And so when I tried to get a direct quote he denied it...just stating there was a hearing on the 26th and he couldn't give me anything back. Dougan also made a point of stating several times that he wasn't giving me the run around.

May 18, 2004

May 21, 2004

May 24, 2004

  • Felony:  Return of Property, Opposition - 1234567

May 25, 2004

  • Felony:  Return of Property, Reply to Opposition - 1234567

May 27, 2004

  • Felony:  Order for Return of Property - 1234

June 3, 2004

June 9, 2004

June 10, 2004

  • DFEH:  Notice of termination of investigation - 123

July 7, 2004

July 20, 2004

    Image of death certificate that establishes my landlord (Bonita Millard) as the would-be mother-in-law of the watch captain of the local sheriffs department.
  • Eviction:  Intended Decision - 12

December 1, 2004

  • DFEH  Complaint Dismissed 1

April 4, 2005

  • Eviction:  Appeal Decision - 1234567

April 19, 2005

April 28, 2005

  • Eviction:  Order Denying Re-Hearing - 12

July 7, 2005

  • Eviction:  Inland Counties Legal Services - letter

January 4, 2006

About July 20, 2004 Bonita's nephew chased me off the place as I was coming back from the store and I went to stay with the Victors, where I slept on the couch for 6 weeks before staying with another friend. I answered an ad on Craig's List for a roommate and found myself living with a Bonita Millard copycat with the result that I am now homeless and have lost everything...and am out of medicine.

The past month is the first time in over two years (and it may be the last) that I have been able to sit at a computer in peace and quiet and actually go over the documents, or do anything else. Much of my website hasn't been touched in two years. I slept under bushes and on church floors for 9 months to have the wherewithal to purchase a laptop and stay in a motel for a few weeks to organize some of the documents and present them in searchable format on my website. It will be a miracle if the laptop survives the rain.

February 23, 2006

  Click to hear an interview recorded 23 Feb 06 in Santa Cruz

A view of the inside of the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, circa 1995, at night, after closing, empty, with the lights low.

February 23, 2009

I became housed in March of 2008, 3 years to the day after I became utterly and completely homeless in March of 2005. It is now 5 years since San Bernardino County beat me up and threw me out in the street for attempting to provide for my own medical needs. Sadly, Santa Cruz hasn't been any kinder. In fact, it appears to me they finished the job for San Bernardino. I won't live long enough to recover from what they've done to me.

One of my goals when I began this was to transcribe all the documents so everything would be in searchable format. About a third of the documents have yet to be transcribed. I've spent the past couple of weeks putting the information in a database and giving my website a much needed facelift.

copyright © 2003-2015 J. Craig Canada aka palmspringsbum.
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