Congressman Jared Polis Wants to Hear Your "War on Drugs" Horror Story

Categories: Marijuana
Lay it on him
Not every drug user's encounter with police is bad. Readers might recall the story last year when the San Francisco Police Department returned several pounds of marijuana to a medical grower.

But for every story like that, there's a Clark Freshman -- the UC Hastings law professor who was mistakenly handcuffed by DEA agents when they raided the wrong home. There's also the story of Bruce Rossignol, the Mission District medical grower who was legal and on file with the Department of Public Health, but had his grow ransacked and equipment smashed by cops.

That's nothing compared to the tale of Marine Corps veteran Jose Guerena. The 26-year-old, who served two tours of duty in Iraq, was shot and killed by a Pima County, Ariz., SWAT team on May 6 during a marijuana-related raid at his home. Guerena was shot at least 60 times in about seven seconds; the officers, it was determined later, had the wrong house.

If these horror stories haven't brought you down, then it's a good thing you're not Jared Polis. The Democratic congressman from Colorado is apparently a glutton for punishment. He issued a clarion call for drug war casualties to share their tales of woe at a congressional hearing next week.

"The drug war is a waste of time, money, and resources. Worse, though, it ruins lives," he wrote in a statement. "Whether the War on Drugs has caused you or a loved one to be put in jail, thrown out of school, or lose a job, please share that experience with me so I can include it in my speech."

California cannabis activists have no shortage of stories to swap. Dale Schafer and Mollie Fry will serve 60 months for having 100 plants over multiple years. They are part of a litany of state-legal dispensers, growers, and distributors facing stiff federal penalties.

It might be painful to open old wounds, but it's a necessary evil, says David Goldman, a local activist on the city's Medical Cannabis Task Force.

"The drug war needs a human face, otherwise it's just statistics," he told SF Weekly on Thursday. "We need to talk about all the lives that have been ruined."

So if you were pulled over for having a puff of smoke exit your car, lost a student loan for a joint, or got fired from work for having a medical cannabis recommendation, please share your experience with Polis. He'll be glad you did.

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In response to C_K below, I find it surreal that anyone could be so stupid as to claim that it matters whether Jose Guerena was shot 20 times or 60 times. He's dead. Was it a case of mistaken identity, or did the police shoot the "right" man -- the one holding the joint of weed? He's dead.

Congressman Jared is to be commended for being one of the few voices of leadership in the US federal government. Shame on Obama, Holder, and all their advisers for perpetuating this gross miscarriage of justice and, indeed, crime against humanity.


The real question is: are there any war on drugs stories that are NOT horror stories?


You have misreported how many times Jose Guerena was shot and it was not determined later that they raided the wrong house.If I gave you my story I'd fear that you might misrepresent that as well.C_K

Chris Roberts
Chris Roberts

Arizona SWAT Team Defends Shooting Iraq Vet 60 Times"A Tucson, Ariz., SWAT team defends shooting an Iraq War veteran 60 times during a drug raid, although it declines to say whether it found any drugs in the house and has had to retract its claim that the veteran shot first."

Care to inform me where the misreporting is, C_K? Did you participate in the raid? If so, please e-mail us, we'd love to talk to you!

Guess you could try and count the shots if you want.

Brandt Hardin
Brandt Hardin

The War on Drugs failed Billions of dollars ago!  This money could have been used for outreachprograms to clean up the bad end of drug abuse by providing free HIV testing,free rehab, and clean needles.  Harmlessdrugs like marijuana could be legalized to help boost our damaged economy.  Cannabis can provide hemp for countlessnatural recourses and the tax revenue from sales alone would pull every statein our country out of the red!  VoteTeapot, PASS IT, and legalize it.  Voiceyou opinion with the movement and check out my pro-cannabis art at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot...  


Was pulled over on April 27 having just crossed the Mississippi river heading towards Indiana, when for no apparent reason we where pulled over be an Illinios state police. Before even calling in our information, four more officers stormed onto the scene pulling my friend and I out of the car and demanding that we show them where the "pounds of marijuana" were hidden. After repeatedly telling them we didn't have "pounds of marijuana" and were only trying to finish our last day of a four day roadtrip back home to visit family, they torn apart the car, posed with and broke gifts as well as lost parts to the car. They also detained us in handcuffs on yhe side of the road for hours all to find nothing. Only when one of the officers mentioned that if it weren't for the "California license plates" they wouldn't even have looked our way. Nice?! I suggest you don't drive through Illinios with California plates. Don't know what yo do about this, any help would be great. Thank you.

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