Mendocino medicinal pot user fights Texas extradition

  • Christopher Diaz' fighting extradition to Texas for traveling through the state of Texas with his medical marijuana for personal use on the way to his great grandmother's funeral. Chris Diaz faces 5-99 years

A young Mendocino man whose legal plight has become a cause c??re for medical marijuana advocates appeared in Mendocino County court Thursday in hopes of halting extradition to Texas.

Mendocino County Judge Ann Moorman told Chris Diaz' attorney, Don Lipmanson, he needed to submit that request to Texas authorities.

"I don't have any jurisdiction," she said. But Moorman said she will consider releasing Diaz on bail at a hearing she then scheduled for Tuesday.

Supporters of Diaz, 22, an asthmatic and father of two children, ages 1 and 4, contend that he is emblematic of the problems wrought by inconsistent laws governing medicinal marijuana.

"The medical marijuana community here is up in arms about the criminal exposure he's facing," Lipmanson said.

While it's in Mendocino County legal for Diaz to use marijuana to treat his asthma, it is not in Brown County, Texas, where he was arrested in 2010 for possessing small amounts of pot and hashish. He faces a sentence of five years to 99 years in prison if convicted of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, as he is charged.

Knowing that, Diaz decided not to return to Texas once he was released on bail after 80 days in jail.

Diaz had about a quarter ounce of marijuana and 14 grams of concentrated cannabis when he was pulled over while driving at night in West Central Texas, said Lipmanson, his attorney. "This is by California standards a very small amount," Lipmanson said.

Diaz' family and supporters believe that medicinal marijuana patients from one state should be able to safely pass through another with their medicine.

Texas law is the reason the family moved to California in 2007, said Diaz' mother, Nona Martin.

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