Trial Of The Century  
Written by Lyn Wilson
          If Richard Davis has his way, he'll be at the center of the Trial Of The  Century in Arizona. Davis, a Hemp activist and owner/operator of the Traveling U.S.A.  Hemp Museum, was arrested at the 1996 Super bowl on three counts of sale of  cannabis and one count of possession for sale. What makes this case unusual is that at the time of his arrest, Davis held a valid Cannabis Dealer's License issued by the state of Arizona. In response to what he deems an illegal arrest and seizure of goods (Davis' truck containing the Hemp Museum was  confiscated), Davis is challenging the constitutionality of  the case against   him.  

It all began in November of 1995, when Davis received information from Arizona  
NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), about Judge  
John R. Barclays' ruling in the Peter Wilson case (November 1, 1995), in which  the charges against Mr. Wilson for possession of Cannabis were dismissed  because he held a Cannabis Dealers License. Judge Barclay ruled that taxing a  citizen for a license and stamps, then putting him in Jail for using it was  double jeopardy, against the Constitution of the U.S. through the Fourteenth  Amendment.  

On November 28, 1995 Richard Davis went to the Arizona Department of Revenue,  
filled out the forms, and paid $100.00 for the Cannabis Dealers License. He  also bought Six Hundred and Seventy Six dollars ($676.00) worth of Arizona  Cannabis Tax Stamps. These Luxury Tax Stamps are similar to Tobacco  Tax  Stamps in that they are to be affixed to the product when it is sold.  

On Friday, December 5 1995, Davis and other activists holding Cannabis Dealers  
Licenses, held a press conference in front of the Arizona Department of  Revenue, Phoenix Arizona to announce the opening of the R.M.Davis Cannabis, Hemp Company. The objective of the company was to sell educational material that would impact the general public. They showed the press and public their licenses, the Museum of Cannabis, Hemp Uses and History and their Cannabis Flowers (Buds), packaged in a variety of ways. All Cannabis Flowers were stamped with the appropriate Arizona Department of Revenue Tax Stamps as required by law.   

In December, 1995 the R.M. Davis Cannabis Hemp Company proceeded to get a business address in Tempe Arizona, register its trade name with the Arizona  Department of State and secure a Transaction Privilege Tax License, which is  required by any business in the State of Arizona. In January 1996 Davis and  his Traveling Hemp Museum, were invited to spend the fourteen (14), days prior  to the Super Bowl on the Arizona State University Campus and received a license to sell goods on Campus during that period.  

During January, because of the confusion surrounding Judge Barclays' ruling, Davis decided a test case using the license to sell, and not merely possessing Cannabis, was necessary. The R.M. Davis Cannabis Hemp Company continued creating new packaging, and exchanging their educational baggies which contained the sanctioned one gram sample of cannabis flowers to Adults over 18 years of age. Sales were conducted at various locations on private Property. No complaints were made about the activities during that time.   
 Three days prior to the 1996 Super Bowl, Detective T. Dickerson  of the Tempe   
Police, stated that he made an undercover purchase of a three gram baggie,  stamped with three State of Arizona Cannabis Tax Stamps. On the Saturday prior  to the Super Bowl, Davis again set up the Hemp Museum on University Avenue on  the ASU Campus. At about 1:00 PM, officers from the city of Tempe arrested  Davis on the charge of three counts of sale of cannabis and one count of possession for sale.  

After one postponement, Davis waived the right to a preliminary  hearing and was given an arraignment date in Superior Court. On August 23, 1996, Davis  appeared in Superior Court along with his attorney, Michael Walz. Davis was  arraigned and pleaded not guilty.   

In October, 1996, Mr. Walz filed a motion to dismiss the charge against Davis   
on the grounds that Mr. Davis had a Cannabis Dealer's License and had complied   
with the Luxury Tax Code. Title 42 of the Luxury Tax Code, states that a "dealer"is not immune from prosecution under Title 13. However , under Title 42, "dealer" means any person in this state who manufactures, produces, ships, transports or imports into this state or  in any manner acquires or possesses Cannabis or a controlled substance upon which the taxes have not been paid as required by the article.   

Therefore, as Davis paid the taxes on the Cannabis items he sold , he is NOT  then a "DEALER" and therefore should not be subject to prosecution under this code 42. Mr. Walz maintains that Davis followed the rules and is therefore, a Law Abiding Citizen.   

On Friday, December 20, Richard Davis returned to Arizona and appeared before  
the Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Brian Ishikawa who heard oral  arguments on the State's motions to strike defenses and witnesses. The State, represented by 
Prosecutor David Flader, seeks to suppress evidence that Davis  complied with the luxury tax law making him an Arizona licensed cannabis  dealer. The state also seeks to suppress witnesses to affirmatively testify to  Davis's character for truthfulness. Since the judge will not allow Mr. Waltz  to show this evidence, .the alternative is for Richard to  try his case  himself so he can bring the evidence up under his first amendment right to  freedom of speech. When Richard returned to Arizona for the alleged trial  
(which was once again postponed), he told Judge Ishikawas that he intended to  offer his own defense. Mr. Flader had offered Davis a penalty of probation if  he were to plead guilty to possession of Cannabis for sale. Mr. Walz told Mr.  Flader that Richard wants to present his story to a jury.  

On June 5, after beginning to prepare his own defense, based on his  constitutional rights that he had done nothing that was a crime and that he  was therefore innocent, Davis returned to Arizona, only to learn his trial was  postponed until July 16. Davis then began researching and preparing his own defense.  He has been offered assistance by Chris Clay, who has just completed  a lengthy constitutional challenge to the cannabis laws in Canada, and Clay's attorney, Alan Young.  

On June 24, David Flader called Davis to comment on his motion Re: the constitutional challenge. Flader said the motion was very thorough. On July  10, David Flader again phoned Richard to obtain a list of the material to be  presented about the museum as evidence. The motion, to allow evidence present  at time of this arrest to be used, was made earlier by  Davis. On July 16,  Davis appeared before Judge Ishikawa in Superior Court in Mesa, Arizona. At  that time the Judge requested that David Flader, the prosecutor, respond to Mr. Davis's motion to dismiss all charges on constitutional grounds. (i.e. see constitutional challenge), by July 23. Mr. Davis has until July 31 to reply to  Mr. Flader's response.  
Mr. Flader pointed out to the court that Court TV is interested in covering  the event and requested that a trial date be set. Judge Ishikawa set Aug. 6 to hear oral arguments on the constitutional challenge between Flader and Davis,  who is acting as his own attorney assisted by Phoenix attorney Michael Walz. Jury selection is set to begin August 7. For a comprehensive chronological account of the events in this case, click here 
If you are interested in contributing Ideas for the Hemp Museum or Financial Support "NO MATTER HOW LITTLE" to help with Mr. Davis's ongoing Legal Expenses, and his Traveling Teaching U.S.A. Hemp Museum, you may fax him at  602-254-9310, or leave a message, or fax Mr. Walz at 602-254-9310. 

Go to Updated Summary
Richard "HEMP" Davis
The Traveling U.S.A. HEMP Museum
Technical Comments to: [email protected]