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Medical Marijuana Patient, Advocate, Defendant Killed in Car Accident, Marijuana Cultivation Charges Dropped


August 1997

Alan Edward Martinez, 41, a medical marijuana advocate from Santa Rosa (CA), died on July 3 in a car accident (Jim Henon Zamora, "Pot activists mourn crash victim," San Francisco Examiner, July 11, 1997, p. A8).

"Alan was one of our lieutenants on the battlefield," said Lynnette Shaw, executive director of the Cannabis Buyers Club Marin. "He was a brave and gentle man. He was a hero. He's a shy man who didn't want to be at the center of controversy, but he stood up for his beliefs."

Martinez, who worked as an in-home caregiver to elderly people and disabled people, became an active supporter of Proposition 215 after he was arrested in August 1996 for growing 10 marijuana plants in his home. Martinez, an epileptic, had used medical marijuana for 10 years on the advice of his physician to help prevent seizures. His partner Jason Miller, 25, was also charged. Miller said he was Martinez's primary caregiver, and claimed exemption from prosecution under Proposition 215. Their case was expected to be a test case for the implementation of California's medical marijuana law.

On August 13, Santa Rosa county prosecutors dropped the charges against Miller. "I felt it would be real hard to convict Mr. Miller by himself," said chief deputy district attorney Kathleen DeLoe (Peter Fimrite, "Charges Dropped in First Medical Marijuana Court Case," San Francisco Chronicle, August 14, 1997, p. A26; Associated Press, "Death derails early test of medical pot," Orange County Register, August 15, 1997, p. 4).