More MS news articles for Dec 2001

Dying LA pot smoker sues store for reporting him

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES, Dec 07 (Reuters) - A terminally ill man who was charged with growing marijuana at his trailer home after a drugstore clerk gave his photos of the plants to police has sued the chain, saying he smoked pot for medicinal purposes.

Glenn Randall Miller, 42, was arrested in October after the Sav-on Drugs store clerk who was processing a roll of his film saw the marijuana plants and showed them to police in the Los Angeles suburb of Montebello.

He sued Sav-on, which is owned by No.-2 US supermarket chain Albertson's Inc., in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress, negligence and invasion of privacy.

"I've been a loyal customer of Sav-on ever since I've had physical problems," Miller told reporters at a press conference outside his trailer home, where the plants had been ripped from the garden by police officers with search warrants.

"They've outlawed a substance a lot of people really need for their medical problems," he said.

A spokesman for Albertson's declined to comment on the lawsuit. A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, which brought the charges against Miller, also had no comment.

Miller, an unemployed Air Force veteran who says doctors have given him only about a year to live because he suffers from cardiovascular disease, lung disease, emphysema and stomach disorders, spent a night in jail, his attorneys said.

He faces charges of cultivating marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and possession of methamphetamine for sale.

Attorney Steven Weinberger said Miller sued Sav-on because they took his personal property---the photographs--and gave them to the police based on suspicions that he broke the law.

"To have a Sav-on employee make the colossal leap that this guy (Miller) was breaking the law and turn his photos over to police was out of line," Weinberger said. "It's certainly beyond the bounds of what you've contracted for, which is to pay $6.99 and have your pictures developed."

He said Miller--who denies possessing methamphetamines--did not have a doctor's written permission to smoke marijuana, but was "attempting to obtain it" and could no longer afford more traditional prescription medications.

"He was taking and growing marijuana with his doctor's knowledge to alleviate his pain and give him an appetite which he otherwise would not have," Weinberger said. "This guy had eight angioplasties in the last several years alone."

Weinberger said he did not know whether doctors had told Miller that he had a certain amount of time to live, but added: "They're telling him: 'Don't plan on ever receiving a retirement check.'"

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