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June 2004
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One lady who won’t sit down and die.

Suing The Reaper by Dean Kuipers in Los Angeles City Beat
The story of a South L.A.Sickle-Cell Patient Had To Sue The LAPD To Stop Pulling Up Her Legal Pot Harvest.

Kambui, who relies on marijuana to combat debilitating pain from sickle-cell anemia, was in tears.

Then her eyes fixed on someone who turned her sorrow to rage: accompanying the federal agents was LAPD Detective Steve McArthur.

McArthur had busted Kambui at least four previous autumns, and each time there had either been no charges filed or, most important, she’d been acquitted and her grow operation approved under California’s 1996 Compassionate Use Act, better known as Proposition 215. Unable to get an indictment under state law, McArthur had brought in the feds, whose warrant was based solely on his testimony. After two hours of questioning, the DEA set Kambui free, and one of the agents even gave her a hug.

Kambui, however, had had enough of Detective McArthur. She filed a civil suit against McArthur, the LAPD, the City of Los Angeles, and “John Does 1-50” in January, backed by an increasingly effective medical cannabis advocacy group, Bay Area-based Americans for Safe Access.

This case is particularly important to Kambui, who was diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia at age 19 when she was in the U.S. Air Force. The fatal malady is usually treated with morphine and many patients die from a morphine overdose. Kambui uses marijuana, cooked into teas, tinctures and foods.

“This kind of shows you how ass-backwards all this is,” says Elford [Kambui’s attorney]. “In the name of the drug war, they’re trying to require someone to take much more serious narcotics than relatively harmless marijuana. And in this case, not just much more serious narcotics in terms of toxicity and addictiveness, but in this case, narcotics that are actually extremely harmful to the person prescribed them.”

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