Stephanie Landa's Prison Sentence Extended
By Allison Margolin, Esq.
The Landa Prison Outreach Program (San Francisco, CA)
September 29, 2008
STEPHANIE LANDA'S PRISON SENTENCE EXTENDED
Stephanie Landa, medical marijuana activist, failed a recent drug test administered by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and will have her sentence extended. Her new out date is listed as June 9, 2009.
Ms. Landa tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which automatically triggers investigations and hearings. The first of these was done within 48 hours of the incident. Ms. Landa was not allowed to have counsel present.
Stephanie has accepted responsibility for this incident and is awaiting assignment to a higher security prison.
When Ms. Landa surrendered herself in January of 2007, she was carrying her prescription for Marinol, which contains synthetic THC. Marinol is a prescription drug, legal in all fifty states. The federal marshals at the courthouse confiscated it before she even got to the prison, leaving her with no pain or nausea medications.
"Because the federal prison system allows only aspirin or Tylenol her doctor could not provide her with pain medication appropriate to her level of need," her spokeswoman explained. "He had prescribed the Marinol as a sort of back-up plan, to help alleviate the nausea that chronic pain caused her, and to stimulate her appetite, which tends to disappear when she's stressed.
"Her shoulder injury has deteriorated markedly in the 18 months she's been inside, and she is in unrelenting pain," Sarah Armstrong, founder of the Landa Prison Outreach Program, continued.
"Only surgery will fix the problem, so there really wasn't much the prison could do. With a mere 90 days left to serve, I don't think she would have ingested anything unless she simply couldn't stand it any more. Stephanie is tough, but everyone has their limits.
"The last time I saw her she was stick thin and could not follow what I was saying, she was so distracted by the pain. I had to twist the cap off the juice I bought her because the right shoulder injury was affecting the lower arm and hand," remarked Ms. Armstrong.
That was ten months ago, and recent photos don't show her looking any better.
When the medication was seized, Ms. Landa's safe access was cut off, and like millions of Americans who live in places where medical marijuana is still not legal, she was forced to engage in self-help to alleviate her pain.
Perhaps the most difficult part of the extended sentence is the loss of privileges that go with accepting responsibility for testing positive.
Right now Stephanie is in the hole, a tiny cell she shares with three other women. They are not even allowed a pillow, much less access to a phone or any other amenities.
"I'm convinced the only thing keeping Stephanie sane at this point, is the love and support she receives in the mail," Ms. Armstrong concluded.
"She will not be allowed any visits for six months, so mail is the only way she can stay connected to the world."
Interested parties can write to Stephanie at her new address:
FCI Dublin - Special Housing Unit
5701 8th Street - Camp Parks
Dublin, CA 94568
Distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
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