Newsbrief: Wisconsin Couple Commit Suicide After Pot and 'Shroom Bust, Forfeiture Notice 10/11/02

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The funeral for a Waukesha couple who committed suicide last month turned into a cry for marijuana law reform last week as the adult children of Dennis and Denise Schilling charged the government with hounding them to their deaths. Facing lengthy prison sentences and the loss of their home, the couple hung themselves in a Madison motel on September 25. At the funeral, four of five Schilling children wore shirts bearing messages such as, "DARE to Know the Truth About Marijuana," and told the Milwaukee Journal their parents were martyrs to the cause of legalizing marijuana, especially for medicinal purposes.

The Schillings were arrested earlier this year after a snitch told the Waukesha Metro Drug Enforcment Unit they had a grow-op in their home. An undercover policeman and another snitch bought a total of $120 worth of marijuana from the couple, after which police raided the home, finding 21 plants, 12 grams of pot and "drug paraphernalia." On June 27, the Schillings and their son Joshua were charged with maintaining a drug house, manufacturing marijuana and mushrooms, and possession with intent to deliver marijuana and mushrooms.

All three faced possible years in prison, but that wasn't enough for the drug warriors. On September 20, US Marshals hand-delivered a notice of forfeiture action against the couple's home. Although no one has explained why federal authorities were involved in seeking seizure of a home in a small-time state-prosecuted case, US Attorney Steven Biskupic, whose office filed the forfeiture motion, called the Schillings' set-up "a substantial grow operation."

In a suicide note left at the scene, Denise Schilling offered a different explanation, citing her efforts to overcome a lifetime of disease. "I had tried every politically correct route, from religion to psychotropic drugs, and none of them helped me in any way," she wrote. "Perhaps someday people like me will not be persecuted. Perhaps someday it will not be a crime to take care of your health."

Another of the couples' children, Caleb Schilling, pointed an accusing finger at the legal system. "We're being screwed by these people," he said.

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Issue #258, 10/11/02 Editorial: Just Claims | Ordeal of the Pain Doctors: California Physician Still Struggling to Clear His Name, Trial Date Set for December | DRCNet Interview: Nandor Tanczos, Member of Parliament, New Zealand | California Medical Marijuana Chronicles: A Widening Conflict | MedMj Chronicles I: The Feds Are Deadly Serious: Bryan Epis Sentenced to Federal Prison | MedMj Chronicles II: San Jose Police Department Cuts Ties with DEA Task Force | MedMj Chronicles III: Marijuana Patients and Caregivers Sue the Feds, Seek Order to Stop Raids | MedMj Chronicles IV: Marijuana Rescheduling Petition Revived | FDA Approves Buphrenorphine for Home Addiction Treatment | Whose Brain on Drugs? Stanford Symposium Focuses on Addiction and Chemistry | Newsbrief: Colombian Ombudsman Petitions Government for Suspension of Herbicide Spraying | Newsbrief: RAVE Act Stalled in House, Could Be Dead for the Year | Newsbrief: Wisconsin Couple Commit Suicide After Pot and 'Shroom Bust, Forfeiture Notice | Newsbrief: Ban on Narcocorridos Spreads in Mexico | Newsbrief: School Districts Drug Testing for Tobacco, Too | Newsbrief: Leaders of Former Soviet Republics Meet to Fight Drugs and Terror, Drink Wine | Newsbrief: Canadian Researchers Seek Approval for Heroin Maintenance Study | Calling on Students to Raise Your Voices for Repeal of the HEA Drug Provision | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision | The Reformer's Calendar

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