Washington State Doctor Harassed

Oakland, California

Paul Stanford is a longtime proponent of cannabis who runs the Campaign forthe Restoration and Regulation of hemp, based in Portland, Oregon. In recent years he has established clinics in Portland and Bellevue, Washington, at which doctors evaluate patients seeking approval to use the herb medicinally. One of the doctors in his employ, Thomas “Tim” Orvald, is a former cardiac surgeon who helped put himself through medical school at the University of Pennsylvania by playing professional basketball. Stanford phoned with this report:

“On Tuesday, April 12, two police officers from Centralia, Washington, came to our Bellevue clinic. That’s about a two-hour drive for them. Peter Leveque was working at the desk. He told them Dr. Orvald wasn’t there but that he’d be there the following Monday and Tuesday, the 18th and 19th. So the officers said they’d come back on Tuesday the 19th.

“I phoned the police in Centralia on Wednesday afternoon and they said they needed to talk to Dr. Orvald in connection with a patient, but they wouldn’t tell me the patient’s name. I said ‘There’s no way I can have the patient’s records if you don’t tell us the name of the patient.’ So finally they gave us the name. Then I reached Dr. Orvald, who wasn’t at home, and told him that the police wanted to come see him on the 19th. He called it ‘intimidation,’ but he wasn’t nervous. At about the same time, a Yakima County sheriff’s deputy arrived at his house and told his wife that two detectives from Centralia were going to visit him on the 19th. Dr. Orvald says that when he got home their seven-year-old daughter ran out to tell him, ‘Daddy, the police were here looking for you.’

“Dr. Orvald and his wife were upset and said they didn’t want to talk to the police. That evening I called a Seattle attorney who specializes in police-misconduct cases, Paul Richmond. On the morning of the 14th -before Richmond had gotten involved- the police made calls to the Orvalds’ unlisted home number and to Carol Orvald’s unlisted cell phone number. Dr. Orvald answered the home phone and said yes, this was his patient, but he didn’t have the file yet. I faxed it to him later that day.

“His wife felt they were being harassed.

“We’re convinced their purpose is intimidation. About a week before this had happened, I got a call from the patient involved. He and his wife live in a mobile home, where he was growing medical marijuana. The police broke through the door when they weren’t home and confiscated it, even though his paperwork was in order and clearly posted. He phoned them to complain and was told ‘We can break every window in your house if we want. You can’t do anything about it.’ The police said his medical marijuana wasn’t legal and he couldn’t have it and they were going to prosecute him.

“So he contacted the police chief and complained and filed a claim for his door and started looking for an attorney who would handle it for no money, which is kind of difficult to find. He is not sure why the police have it in for him. Before seeing Dr. Orvald he had seen another doctor who said he didn’t qualify. This doctor objected to medical marijuana and had told him ‘We have plenty of pharmaceuticals, there’s no need to use marijuana.’ The police officer who did the talking was named Ross Kenepah and he knew that another doctor had said the patient shouldn’t use medical marijuana

“On the 14th Paul Richmond left a message on one of the police officers’ phones saying he represented our clinic and to cancel the appointment with Dr. Orvald on the 19th and that any future correspondence should come to him. They ignored this and showed up in Bellevue on the 19th in plain clothes. I had them come into my office. They said they wanted to talk to Dr. Orvald and claimed they hadn’t gotten the message from our lawyer. Kenepah did the talking. He said that for them medical marijuana was illegal and that they didn’t care what the law said. I said, ‘Well you know, the people voted to create this law.’ And he said, ‘You’ll find out.’

“I said ‘We’ve had seven thousand patients and this is the first time any police officers have come in and done anything like this.’ They kept insisting on seeing Dr. Orvald and I told them they couldn’t and they said, ‘Well, we’ll subpoena him.’ I said, ‘Are you going to subpoena every patient?’ Kenepah said, ‘If that’s what it takes.’ I said, ‘Are you going to subpoena sick and dying people?’ He kept repeating, ‘If that’s what it takes.’ I said, ‘Are you going to torture sick and dying medical-marijuana patients.’ ‘If that’s what it takes.’ He just kept repeating these phrases: ‘If that’s what it takes Get used to it You’ll find out’ That was the last thing they said: ‘You’ll find out.’ And they walked out the door. “I don’t know his rank, but Kenepah is part of some multi-jurisdictional task force called the United Narcotics Enforcement Team. Paul Richmond faxed them a letter on the 20th and instructing them not to harass us. On the 22nd he got a letter back from the Centralia city attorney saying they weren’t investigating our clinic or our doctor or me, but they were investigating Joe Scott on some drug case.”

California’s leading cannabis specialist Tod Mikuriya, MD, attributes his legal problems to the fact that his letters of approval effectively blocked the prosecution of individuals whom local law enforcers wanted to see punished. Dr. Orvald is playing an analogous role in Washington, and evidently has incurred analogous wrath. Officer Kenepah’s implication that the foray was just the start of a wider crack-down was crude but ominous.

Plain Jane

‘Because people aren’t stoned there.’

–Actress Jane Fonda, speaking Monday at San Francisco’s A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, on why she lives in Georgia.”

The Oakland Tribune ran this item in large type, along with a picture of Jane, who is peddling her autobiography. It was a very sad life’s story from early on. For years I’ve regretted having written a piece about the GI movement that was less than gallant in describing Jane. A few weeks ago I heard her on 60 Minutes, describing intimate details of her scene with Roger Vadim, and I could only laugh at my own absurd sense of propriety.

So Jane sez to Leslie Stahl, “I just wish somebody had told me to shut up.” In the winter of ’71 I sat with this woman on a stoop on Liberty St. in San Francisco and told her not to take the FTA show to Asia and to stop supporting “movement” operations that were anti-GI. All that year Jane had been telling the world that I had influenced her, turned her on to the GI movement. But now she wouldn’t hear of following my advice. I said it wasn’t advice but a direct order on behalf of the American people. She said I was the most presumptuous person she’d ever met, and we parted, and I haven’t seen her since.

Being ignored is preferable to being slandered (I know whereof I speak) but a little accurate acknowledgment now and then wouldn’t hurt.

FRED GARDNER can be reached at: fred@plebesite.com











Fred Gardner is the managing editor of O’Shaughnessy’s. He can be reached at fred@plebesite.com