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Busted For A Half Ounce, Facing 5 To 99

Grubbs & Diaz

Sheriff Bobby Grubbs is the top cop in Brownwood, Texas, a small town of some twenty thousand church-going souls smack in the center of the Texas vastness between Abilene and Fort Worth. Brownwood has a big reputation for drug arrests in a state with a bigger reputation for life sentences for even small amounts of marijuana.

So here comes a long-haired Mendocino County kid tooling through 2am Brownwood in a battered old Mercedes station wagon with California plates. It was Chris Diaz, 22, the married father of two children ages 4 and 1. Diaz was immediately pulled over on your basic pretext, as in pretext stop, as in automatic pretext stop of a long-haired kid driving through town in the middle of the night in some kinda hippie wagon with California plates.

Candy Barr
Candy Barr

The cop said Diaz's registration tags had expired, which they demonstrably had not. Soon, all four of Brownwood's night shift cops were on-scene, and what ensued became Brown County's top media story for the next three months, the town not having seen so much excitement since Candy Barr fled the place in 1954 to make pioneer porn films, get herself popped for pot smoking in '57 and mixed up in the Kennedy Assassination in a kind of peripheral way in '63.

So young Mr. Diaz tells the cops, “No, I don't have a driver's license and I'm going to video you boys while you go about your cop business.” That statement got Diaz jerked out of his antique station wagon and handcuffed face down in the roadside Texas dirt.

The four cops proceeded to break into the kid's locked suitcase where they found a whole half ounce of marijuana product, which Diaz, in and out of hospitals since infancy for life-threatening breathing difficulties, says was and is his medicine. He and his family has since argued with convincing plausibility that cannabis is the only way he can find relief from crippling asthma attacks. Diaz also possesses his 215 card and a doctor's prescription. In California he'd be street legal. In Texas, a half-ounce of pot can get you 5 to 99 years in prison, which the young man is now facing.

Diaz lives on the Mendocino Coast. Diaz's mom, who also lives in Mendocino County, is from Amarillo, and his dad lives in Austin, a kind of Texas sanctuary city where the dope laws and the law generally is reasonably applied. Diaz was driving to Austin when Sheriff Grubbs waylaid him in Brownwood.

As the kid languished in the Brownwood jail his family went gone broke raising bail and temporarily staying in Brownwood to fight the case, watching the Brownwood judge refuse to hear any argument having to do with marijuana as medicine. Then Diaz's Brownwood public defender dropped dead just after he'd informed Diaz that he was headed to the Texas State pen for at least five years.

At that news, Diaz did what any sensible young family man would do — he got to hell outta Texas and came home to his kids in Mendocino County, California.

And Texas came looking for him. As did federal marshals who drove down from Eureka to bust in on Diaz's mom's house looking for the kid. So, right about here you ask, “Do you mean to say Texas wants to extradite this young man for a half-ounce of cannabis? They must want him for a bunch of other crimes.” Nope.

That's it. the half-ounce. Diaz is not wanted for anything else except being in full possession of his survival instincts by leaving Texas to avoid being locked up for who knows how many years. And there he was in the parking lot of Mendosa's Market in Mendocino Village on Sunday afternoon the 30th of October, confident that Texas was behind him, when deputy J.D. Comer of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department pulls up and says, “Gotcha.” Diaz's mom immediately pulled out a megaphone and amplified her son's sudden and wholly unexpected capture, the result of a snitch-tip by the way, but Diaz was off to the County Jail in Ukiah where he's been ever since and where he awaits an extradition hearing in Judge Anne Moorman's courtroom on Wednesday, November, 30th at 1:30 p.m.

Petitions opposed to the young man's forced return to Brownwood have quickly filled up, and his plight is being widely publicized. We'll be in court with him next week and we hope you'll be there, too. This kid should not be sent back to Texas where they're laying for him and can be counted on to max him out.


  1. Josh Schimberg November 25, 2011

    A half ounce of cannabis will NOT get you 5-99 years. It will get you up to 180 days in jail (most cases with a half ounce won’t get you any jail time, assuming you cooperate), and up to a $2000 fine.
    If was my understanding that Chris had a half ounce of hash (a “marijuana product”), which could get you 5-99 years.
    Josh S.
    Exec. Director, Texas NORML

    • Bruce Anderson November 27, 2011

      You’re correct, Josh, it was a half ounce of hash. Not being a doper myself, I can be slow to make these distinctions.

      • Hindu K. November 27, 2011

        Bruce and Josh,
        Here is a clarification.

        There is no chemical difference between “hash” and marijuana. Hash is derived directly from the marijuana plant, in that it is produced from a specific part of the cannabis flower, the essential oil glands also known as “trichomes.” These oil glands contain the medicinal and psychoactive ingredient THC. These can be removed by many organic processes. In Eastern cultures where Hashish is an integral part of society, it is typically made by beating the dry cannabis flowers until the trichomes fall off and then pressing these oil glands together into patties. The cold water extraction process is an organic process commonly used in today’s medical marijuana community. It is a process of again removing the green plant material from the oil glands by virtually freezing them off the flowers and separating the two. If you have ever fondled a dried sticky Cannabis flower bud and have had the “sticky” on your fingers, just a little rub makes “finger hash.” Either way, it still is a marijuana plant.
        Take the water out of Orange juice you get OJ from concentrate.
        One would think, if you were using smoked marijuana for asthma, you might agree inhaling less smoke would be ideal and hash would be preferable.

        Here is the opinion of the Attorney General of California between Marijuana and Hashish –

        Here is a study on the effects of Cannabis and Asthma

        Texas doesn’t seem have the same opinion.

        • November 28, 2011

          Texas: a state than can elect George W Bush and Rick Perry as governors. Ought to tell you something. A long way from the days of Ann Richards, who said Bush Sr. was “born with a silver foot in his mouth.” NORML has its work cut out in Texas.

          Austin is an oasis of reason to some extent, but it isn’t enough. In early 80’s before the indoor-grow phenomenon exploded, I brought pot into Austin from Hawaii and suddenly had lots of friends. On the perception of California by people elsewhere, back in the 70’s I was stopped by a state trooper in Fishkill, New York. Upon seeing my Calif. license, he said with some eagerness, ” I bet you have some marijuana in this car.” I didn’t. But off we went to the impound yard where they strip-searched the vehicle and had to reluctantly let me go.

          Young Mr. Diaz should have known better than carry pot through such a backwards area.

          • an asthmatic November 28, 2011

            Unfortunately the young mr. diaz is like most asthmatics, including myself, and probably must carry his “rescue inhaler” with him at all times. In his case, a bowl of hash.

            Considering the FDA has even warned that Beta2 inhalers can exasperate asthma causing death, what would one do?

            If in fact marijuana, a plant that has never caused a documented death in over 5000 years, can be used for the treatment of asthma, I would think this may be an alternative treatment that all asthmatics should look into.

      • I know the truth December 10, 2011

        Doper? Really? You don’t have to be what you call a “doper” to understand different terminologies. You only have to be interested in the world around you and study a little.

    • I know the truth December 10, 2011

      Thank you for some real facts

  2. Know the facts.. November 28, 2011

    This story makes chris sound like a victim, he’s not. The real story was he was driving with EXPIRED tags, yes they were expired, and also with an EXPIRED marijuana recommendation. He might of said he was going to record the police but he was also uncooperative. He would not give the cops his name and was just plain rude. He is not just being charged with possesion, hes being charged with possesion with intent to sell because he had a message on his phone trying to sell the hash he had in his possesion. If it was really that medicinal for him why would he be trying to sell it?

  3. karma November 29, 2011

    Know the facts.. just doesn’t know the facts.

    Chris and his children are the true victims here.
    Victims of the hate, violence and ignorance forced upon him and his family over the last year and a half.

    The tags were not expired.

    The “marijuana” recommendation in hand may have appeared expired, but upon further examination it was verified by his California physician as being current, NOT EXPIRED. (just because the insurance card YOU have in your glove box is expired, doesn’t mean your policy has been cancelled. duh.

    Check your facts about the text messages, its just another lie pulled together by DA Micheal Murray and Trooper “I smell Marijuana” Molotsky to trump up more charges. It was proven in court there were no text messages. Were you there?

    BTW Hash in California only goes for at most, $50/gram usually around $25/gram, not $171/gram as DA Micheal Murray has lied to in court documents.
    Another trumped up accusation and very provable. Check your sources.

    Any of the hundreds of Medical Marijuana dispensaries or thousands of Medical Marijuana patients in California will be happy to answer any Medical Marijuana questions you may have.

    Unfortunately it was Trooper Molotsky that was not cooperative with Chris and as a public servant he is always required to be cooperative and respectful. He was not. Did you see the video? I did and Chris DID in fact state his name and Trooper Molotsky stated on the record that Chris was actually kind AND respectful. Where did you get your hearsay, Brownwood Bulletin?

    You may read the US Supreme Court ruling and Opinion of Brown v Texas if you would like to know more about privacy and what cops are allowed to ask and when.

    Have you been to the Brown County Courthouse and pulled the file to see the tags were NOT expired nor was his Medical Recommendation expired? It is a public record and you can see the REAL facts for yourself.

    You obviously do not know Chris, his family, anything about human rights or freedom of choice, or I’m sure you would not say such hateful and rude lies.

    Don’t believe everything you see on TV.

    Do unto others…

    • Know the facts.. November 29, 2011

      Karma, you must be his stepfather or else you wouldn’t be sticking up for him. He’s just an idiot who knew marijuana is ILLEGAL

    • Me November 30, 2011

      losers get a real job and stop acting like hes the victim you don’t know the law you should read a book and stop smoking weed all the time.

    • Poor guy January 4, 2012

      to Either side of this debate! Any way you look at this its unfair. Im not explaining why. Im human you should be too! <3 :)

    • Chris Diaz March 25, 2022

      Thank you for standing up for the truth.
      Now Texas needs to pay and change their draconian laws.
      Concentrates and edibles are not controlled substances.

  4. Tonto December 1, 2011

    All of your points are moot now as the sequence of events have and will continue to unfold. Texas, especially many of the counties around and including Brownwood county are about as bass-ackwards as they come, but they have their rights to legislate and enforce laws according to cultural and societal standards in their particular county. It was and is an individual right to avoid travelling through jurisdictions which do not adhere to one’s particular choices regarding treatments(medicinal marijuana)of a medical condition that may land them in “hot water.” I say know where you’re going and avoid the entrapment of a jurisdiction or suffer the consequences, whatever happened to accountability for one’s actions? Are we as a society to adjust to each and every individual preference or should the individual be responsible enough and man(or woman) enough to accept the consequence of their own actions. Did anyone force this man to travel through Brownwood county? Probably not. Were the police really looking for someone to victimize? Probably not. Are the laws in this jurisdiction regarding such nominal amounts of “medicine” ridiculous and outdated? Probably so, but debating the how and why of the whole situation at this point is moot. Lawyer up and fight for your rights or be a patsy and made an example of for other would be asthmatics/dealers, whatever, or take your medicine. Most of all I think we all should be willing to accept responsibility for our actions, period.

  5. Know Your Rights December 1, 2011

    The identification hearing at the courthouse was solely to determine if he was the person that Texas is looking for. This kid must have a lot of connections and pull somewhere because there were some heavy-hitters there in the gallery at the courthouse to observe and attempt to speak-I know because I was there too and I work at the courthouse.
    I just have to say, they made complete asses of themselves-including spouting off in court shouting out comments like, “Pontius Pilate” (apparently directed at the judge) and other inane comments.
    So let me get this straight-you are comparing a judge whose only jurisdictional question is to determine whether this defendant is wanted as a FELONY fugitive with the Roman justice who condemed Jesus to death?!
    Hahaha! Give me a fucking break! Diaz is a martyr?! Wow, dudes, I’d advise you to stop smoking so much pot and put away your Pink Floyd records.
    Did any of you there actually graduate from, say, the 9th grade?!
    Jesus, I mean Dr. Courtney came out for this?! Uh, just a little personal and professional advice my friend-why would you put your medical reputation on the line for this idiot?
    For all you other wankers who showed up-I just have to say-are you guys really trying to de-criminalize marijuanna-medical or otherwise?
    If I were more conspiritorial-minded, I might actually think you morons were really working for the DEA trying to insure that weed stays illegal…of course I know some of you happen to be involved in the marijuana production economy, so it’s not that much of a stretch. You all are freaking pathetic-ha ha.
    On the legal side of it-if he was driving and didn’t have expired tabs, he would be able to easily defeat the stop-even in Texas-4th Ammendment claims are federal and he’d beat the stop. His judgement about driving there with ANY pot on him his his fault. Oh, and did you’all know that cops can look at your cell phone and check to see if you have texts about, well, SELLING or distributing it?
    Here’s some more general advice: if you are going to do MEDIA interviews in which you ADVOCATE for medical marijuana legalization, don’t go to dome state where it’s not legal, and carry it with you! Hahaha!
    Oh, just one more thing, I’m about as far to the left as you can get politically-I personally support legalization of all drugs, even the “bad” ones-in case some of you try robust my balls and call me a DA.
    Of all the people to rally behind-you pick this guy? Give me a fucking break. I’m in court every day and there are people sent to prison for small amounts of drugs, people deported who have been here for 20 years and although csme here illegally, married some one who is a citizen, had a couple of kids-who are therefor U.S. citizens and get caught driving ti work withought a license-and who then have Immigration holds and will be deported-where the fuck are you then? Protesting? Claiming he judge us a fascist?! Nope.
    Typical white, liberal hypocrites who frankly, need to stop smokng so much pot and take a civics lesson about how our government and courts work. Wow, I know 14 year olds who know more about rhe legal system than you numbnuts.
    The AVA is getting behind this guy?! Hahaha.
    Funny, because your reporters tend to suck up to the DA’s and to fascist Task Force assholes like Hoyle….but now you claim you’re on the side of the underdog? Wow. Well, good luck with that.
    “Marijuana Amnesty”?! it’s not a different country for god’s sake.
    You people are the reason the legalization/de-criminalization side is such a joke and middle-of-the road, mainstream people like my mom, who has never fine an illegal drug in her life, would never be convinced by you all-not because SHE is irrational-but because you all are embarassingly inane.
    Just one bit of advice: find some one to be your spokesperson who isn’t a stoner, has a job, bathes, is literate, and doesn’t go my some goofy name like, “Dragonfly”…assuming of course you actually really want to try to move the political debate to your side and not be laughed at for being kooks. Well, then that would also presume you would actually be able to support yourselves without growing the “medicine” once is does become legal. I’m all for that-perhaps then some of you might actually start paying some income taxes-oops, I forgot, those of you who might be able to get “straight” jobs are probsbly too I’ll to work.
    Yeah, right.

    • Karma is a bitch.. December 4, 2011

      Amen..on that brother,

    • Bruce Anderson December 4, 2011

      These charming communications, one from Texas, the other from an anonymous and self-alleged courthouse staffer, miss the points that our coverage has at least tried to raise, namely (1) 5-99 for half an ounce is excessive by most standards west of the Taliban (2) since Texas disallows medical marijuana defenses this kid will have no defense, meaning no fair trial. PS. I publicly opposed Richard Johnson’s lunatic 24 plant law, I don’t smoke marijuana and never have, I bathe every morning at 5am (you’re welcome to join me, courthouse worker) and I’m at least semi-literate, which means full literacy by Mendocino County standards. PPS. Dr. Courtney is smart and articulate, and the only “kook” in the room may have been you but Texas has several million of them, including that state’s present governor and the recent two-term president, neither of whom would be elected in a truly literate country, Norway say.

      • I know the truth December 10, 2011

        NICE RESPONSE!!!!!

  6. Know Your Rights December 4, 2011

    Well, Bruce, thanks for the offer to bathe with you, but I’ll decline.
    Several issues with your response;
    I believe he is actually charged with poseesion for SALES, due to the writtings on his cell phone-but I will grant you that his potential sentence might seem excessive-but that does not mean he won’t get a fair trial. For such a self-described “literate” person, you should know by now that we have both state and federal laws-Mr. Diaz broke both. Oh, and people are also presumed to know what they are? Hey, perhaps he could try that legal defense-lack of notice?! Perhaps you also did not realize there is no “medical marijuana” defense in Texas, in spite of your literacy.
    For a person who talks a lot of smack about Texas, you, as well as your fellow oh-so-educated commrades in court that day, sure don’t seem to know much about how the law and our Constitution works. Also, I find it ironic how smarmy and passive-aggressive people in NoCal are about, say, people in SoCal or on the east coast-and especially in the South-I’ve lived all over the country-and overseas as well, and I’ve never come across as many self-righteous, uneducated (as you yourself note) and backward citizens as are here in Mendo.(btw-you may recall Gore was also from the South, Tennessee to be exact-a state he FAILED to carry in 2000)
    I too, found our previous president to be less than satisfactory and I disagree with drug laws of Texas-as I do with almost all drug laws in most states and under the
    federal system-but I know what they are.
    Got a problem with drug laws-as do I? With our political leaders and candidates?Convice people to change the laws and politicians and vote.
    What makes one’s cause LESS credible is to show up in court, without standing to speak, in a case at which your issue is not properly before the court and shoot your mouth off from the gallery by refering to the judge as “Pontius Pilate” and submit handwritten notes about what a good boy your martyr-de-jour is and the benefits of smoking pot. The judge had no authority to release Mr. Diaz unless you support anarchy.
    I do believe there are times and places to engage in civil disobedience-as when the civil rights movement organized “sit-ins” and marches in which they committed low-level tresspassing violations to protest outrageous, racist and unfair laws. This was not one of those situations.
    Feel free to use your power of the press to support drug and marijuana legalization-and perhaps you can help raise funds for an attorney in Texas for him-and perhaps to help educated the less-than-literate folks around here who apparenty don’t know that not every place in the country is a stoner-haven and that, yes, people still go to prison for pot. Good luck.
    (apologies in advance for typos-I have a tiny screen with auto-correct and it’s hard to go back and proof-read)

  7. WE THE PEOLE.. December 5, 2011

    I have never heard a more direct straight to the point rebut in a long time ….good for you sir..straight to the facts and BS.

    • ??? People December 5, 2011

      Was that never? Or in a long time? Did you mean rebut or rebutal? And I’m pretty sure Know Your Rights is a woman not a sir.

  8. I know the truth December 10, 2011

    What a shame the man found a way to help himself with a natural medicine that costs way less than that of the addictive poisons the pharmaceutical companies try to push on Americans every single day. What a shame that the American government won’t admit its mistake of legalizing a toxic, addictive, life ending poison of alcohol as opposed to a non-addictive, natural alternative like marijuana. What a shame the American government has wasted millions upon millions upon millions of dollars to fight a little plant and caused overcrowding in the jails, over worked corrections officers, and wasted billions in revenue because they made the wrong decision 70 years ago and won’t “man-up”. What a shame the American government controls its peoples with blatant lies, false information, and covers up scientific evidence that supports the valuable assets that this little plant has to offer mankind on multiple levels. What a shame the American government forces its peoples into a chemical modality for their health and gives them absolutely no choice in regards to personal healthcare. What a shame it is to have to admit that we the people of America are under a dictatorship rather than a freedom of choice that our government says we have. Wake up people. You have been LIED TO BY YOUR GOVERNMENT FOR OVER 70 YEARS IN REGARDS TO MARIJUANA!!!!! Poor Mr. Diaz, yet another victim of the propaganda perpetrated and a casualty of a bogus war created by the American government. This man is only guilty of improper driving papers.

    • really?? December 10, 2011

      He’s only guilty of being an idiot!!!! I’m tired of all you people who get brainwashed into believing that this guy is a victim instead of a whiner who needs to take responsibility. It’s not like he drove down to the corner store with a half oz of hash. I have asthma and while sometimes marijuana does help, hash exacerbates the problem.

      • If the shoe fits.... December 12, 2011

        This is getting so played out, here you have people actually feeling sorry for this guy.. Come on if you do the crime stop whimpering about it and do your time . I honestly feel like this could of gone away long ago with a simple yes sir, and no sir.. But no his camp had to show their asses and now unfortunately the pot charges will probably go away ,but the bail jumping will most probably stick and cause of all the controversy that all those idiots caused stick, and stick well.. it will. Chris is no victim he is a number to the state now and he should of just simply obeyed the law..thats why they are called LAWS….so if the shoe fits ….wear it!

  9. Ian December 13, 2011

    Alcohol was illegal for years. The music in your ipod is probably illegal too. MLK marched illegally. What’s your point? When has legality had anything to do with what’s right?

  10. canoe December 18, 2011

    stories like this make me glad to live in the uk where a close freind of mine also uses cannabis for a breathing illness and as long as its not bulk amounts the laws are much more relaxed

  11. Jon December 18, 2011

    He messed up he should know where his card is/isn’t valid. I don’t think he should get 5-99, but i don’t think he should go scot free either. p.s I like weed and shower yay me

  12. Danielle Willis December 18, 2011

    In the state of Minnesota, where I live, a half ounce of pot is a TICKET!!! I will never step foot in Texas…ever!!

  13. Jimbo December 23, 2011

    Sheriff Bobby Grubbs & Hunter S. Thompson: separated at birth?

  14. Know Your Rights January 12, 2012

    Hey Bruce, what no response? Where is all that heavyweight press now? can’t make any more hay by trying to throw the public defender of judge under the bus? Hahaha! Hey so you Golden boy is representing himself in Texas now? Where’s all the money and effort and press going now? Ah, can’t make a buck off him so you kick him to the curb-the latest cum rag in your noble efforts? May be you and your self-annointed doper legal scholars should have advised him not to have given 3 15 minute interviews published on You Tube recently in which he admitted all the elements of the felony crime for which he has been charged-oops! Hahaha! Well, perhaps you will now be able to tell your readers how it is that you are illegly publishing the alleged juvenile record of a defendant who is going to trial soon? Yes, I see, selective self-righteous indignation for you-well, this case does involve an African-American defendant, and it doesn’t involve dope-so may be that’s it…or just nay be it’s because your reporters have been sucking up to DA Eyster recently? Could that be the reason your paper takes sides? Yeah, well, don’t bite the hand that feeds you…even if that’s the head of the Good Squad like officer Hoyle. Pretty ironic, eh? I didn’t notice your paper going after the police on the Diaz story-why was that? You didn’t bust the DA’s balls-but it’s all the fault of the judges and public attorneys?! Really? And what would you propose? They all become anarchists and get disbarred-but you let the prosecutors off the hook? You’re a hack and a whore for the DA – which is fine- but please don’t try to come off as the vangaurd for the poor innocent locals. Oh…and you might want to watch that reporting on alleged juvenile records if you want to keep that paper of yours-if not for ethical reasons, at least for legal ones. That fingerprint defendant now has a legal cause of action against you-hmm, may be I’ll take that case on a contingency basis. Sleep tight.

  15. Nullify June 11, 2012

    Jury nullification allows one’s peers to judge not only whether the law was broken but also its validity, according to our first attorney general. Harriet Tubman and others helping slaves to freedom were caught many times in the north but we’re acquitted. Some of these comments make me fear that a dozen honest men might actually WANT to see 150 thousand tax dollars spent to cage a fellow human for five years for being, at worst, a knucklehead stoner. Luckily, I needn’t worry about that as informing other citizens about jury nullification near courthouses is verboten now. None dare call it fascism, of course. First they locked up the potheads and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a pothead.

  16. Sophia August 12, 2012

    Let him home to his kids, he learned his lesson about Texas. Our country is in shambles debt wise right now because of all these people in civil jobs wasting our taxpayer money, which includes putting people in jail that should not be! Who benefits, the private prisions and special interests? Yes!!!!! Those kids need their dad, and our taxpayers need their taxes back, so lets take it all back America, from our wasted taxes, to our stolen homes from th banks, and the bank bailout money! Quit letting our civil servants (thieves) spirit away our money! of course he should be free, he is is obviously a non-threatening person, and drug laws prosecute non-violent people time and again. Only violent people who harm others should be in jail, as well as serial shoplifters, and corrupt civil servants. You can be in a police badge, and jail the innocent any day of the week, it needs to end, because civil servants get too much power/benefits. What does the rest of american get, working two jobs, to eat ramen noodles?

  17. Bob Miller December 5, 2012

    An orange is an orange anyway you break it down. In that manner, THC is THC, anyway you break it down.

  18. Steven Gill January 16, 2013

    Sheesh….what a waste for all concerned……..repeal the controlled substances act – that’s the only solution

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