Thomas James (TJ) Lowe

Crohn's Disease Patient

sentenced to 8 years, 3 months

Served 5 years, released with 5 years supervised release and drug testing

charged with marijuana cultivation, aiding and abetting

"I want to heal people with natural plant substances placed on earth by God for man's use for medicine."

T.J. Lowe was a photographer and naturalpathic physician who studied with the world famous herbalogist/iridologist, Bernard Jensen. He used herbs and plants to treat his own Crohn's Disease and to heal others.

Upon recommendation by a doctor at a VA hospital in San Diego, T.J. learned that cannabis along with licorice root extract and ginseng would relieve his cramps, nausea and loss of appetite. He began growing marijuana for himself and AIDS, MS, and glaucoma patients in San Diego, and trained and set up three other indoor growing systems. In 1993, the gardens were discovered. T.J. was arrested and charged with marijuana cultivation and aiding and abetting others.

He was sentenced to 87 months. Soon after sentencing, he was transferred to Terminal Island Prison where he was beaten by gang members who broke his nose, and confined to 'the hole' &emdash; a maximum security solitary lockdown isolation cell &emdash; for sixty days. T.J. was then transferred to Lompoc where he collapsed and required emergency surgery at Valley Center Hospital due to an intestinal obstruction from the Crohn's Disease. As this was not a prison facility, he was shackled and chained to a bed for 30 days and guarded by armed guards. The doctor who performed the operation recommended a second surgery to remove twelve inches of his sigmoid colon, due to the danger of a rupture, severe diverticuli, and a mass found during the first procedure.

They decided to transfer him to the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas to save money, but the doctors there refused to operate. They gave him heavy doses of drugs instead which caused liver damage. They took him off of those drugs, and now they refuse to give him medication for nausea and cramps to prevent further damage.

In prison, T.J. tried using cannabis to self-medicate and relieve the symptoms of his condition. In November, 1997, he tested positive for cannabis use and was subsequently sentenced to thirty more days in the hole. In 1998, once again seeking relief, he used cannabis but was discovered. This time he was sentenced to nine months in the hole.

When T.J. is released in 1999, he will have five years supervised release. If a drug test reveals that he is using marijuana, he will be sent back to prison. T.J. is hoping to benefit from California's Prop. 215 which allows patients to cultivate and use marijuana for medicine with a doctor's recommendation. As he is being held under federal jurisdiction, it is questionable whether he will be allowed to use it since the federal government refuses to recognize a patient's right to use marijuana as medicine.

Since he has been confined to prison, T.J. has lost his wife and all his possessions. He hasn't seen his children in over five years.

Released in 1999 with 5 years of supervised release, TJ is at the whim and mercy of his parole officers and the well-known inaccuracy of drug testing. His freedom appears tenuous at best.

Letter from TJ Lowe.

Monday, May 14, 2001 3:10 PM

Looks like I am going down next week. The PO says I did not cooperate with the drug treatment because I took some of the Kampuchea tea with me to one of the drug counseling sessions. They wanted me to take a breath test for alcohol and I refused because the tea does contain a minute amount of alcohol, just like tincture. Since I refused the test, they terminated my drug treatment and now insist that I go into intensive detox in-house treatment, meaning I get locked up in a ward for three months.

Since I am testing negative for cannabis they have no real reason to do this. I cooperated with their drug treatment for over a year. Yes I did test positive six times for cannabis but that was their reason for putting me in treatment, because I had a so called marijuana problem. Well I finally got it, so putting me in lockdown treatment is not necessary as long as I am testing negative.

The PO says I have Abused Cannabis for too many years, even while in jail, but the truth is I am no longer testing positive for cannabis because, despite the pain and depression, I really quit.

They discovered that the doctors are giving me oxycontin - which is a narcotic- for my cramps and intense pain. Although they don't like it, it is all legal and there is nothing they can do about it. All I have left is the oxycontin for the intense pain nausea and cramps and pain in my arm and leg. You know I have had eight orthopedic surgeries and to do heavy physical labor causes me great pain and then I need strong pain meds to work and I get them legally through a pain clinic that is in a big hospital.

It is all legal and the law says people on supervised release can take whatever is prescribed legally for legitimate medical purposes. They are trying to circumvent the law as usual, bending it to suit their purposes.

They've decided to use the fact that I flunked six urine tests for cannabis in the past as the excuse to lock me up for three months. The joke is I stopped smoking weeks ago and all the tests lately are negative for cannabis, so I really am cooperating with them for the first time and now they are locking me down.

I will lose everything if they put me into detox now. I will have to go to some hospital next week and they say I will have to stay for at least three months. This will ruin all the work I have done since I got out. One or two weeks, which is the normal time, would be okay - I could survive and still keep everything except maybe my job, but three months or longer will cost me everything I have. I will go into deep debt, since I won't be working and won't be able to pay my bills. I will lose my job, my car, my house, and default on my computer and all my bills, plus I lose my chance to go to computer school, which has already been approved by the VA. This may push my mother over the deep end and will definitely create a family hardship for my sister, my father, and my mother. My dad depends on me to help him on the fishing boats and work at his house. He is old and my mom needs my visits. She is bipolar. Also this will put a hardship on my sister who will have to handle all my affairs while I am away. These people will destroy me.

The ironic thing is the va just agreed to send me to computer school on June fourth, so I could have had a job for the first time that wouldn't cause me pain and they are taking it all away.

I am trying to get some senators or congressman involved but that takes so long and I really need the immediate help of people who understand.

The PO's name is Fredrick Lawton - his phone number is 508 830 9670. He is in Plymouth.

I need people to deluge him with phone calls protesting this detox treatment. I am testing negative for marijuana now regularly, no more positive tests, so all I ask is that as long as I continue to test negative, they allow me to resume drug treatment on an outpatient basis. I really need people to call them or write. It is better to call on Monday, as many people as possible, because I may go down next week on Monday or Tuesday.

All I am asking is that I be allowed to continue in outpatient drug treatment as long as I continue to test negative for cannabis, which I am. They are saying my behavior at the drug group meetings was inappropriate, which is not true. I was always cooperative and courteous. All I did was refuse one alcohol breath test and I am willing to let them breath test me if they must. I just want another chance to participate in outpatient treatment rather than go into detox for three months.

Please get as many people as possible to call the PO on Monday, calls protesting putting me into long term detox when it is not necessary and a waste of taxpayers money.

What they can say is just give Mr. Lowe a chance to participate in outpatient drug treatment again as long as he continues to test negative for cannabis, because to go inpatient at this time will cause him to lose everything he has and put a major hardship on his family.

As long as I am testing negative for cannabis, which was the reason I was in treatment, there is no reason for me to go into detox. They must give me another chance as an outpatient. I did refuse to take a breath test one time and tested positive for a very small amount of alcohol because of the tea, but they say this detox is for marijuana. They think I am addicted and do not understand my medical necessity.

This is the true story. I need help. Please get this on the net. This is a waste of taxpayer money since I am cooperating. Please help me or I will lose everything I have worked hard for.

Please reply. Haven't I have suffered enough?

thanks - as always TJ

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