This weekend’s Freedom Celebration fundraiser will honor what organizers are calling a historic legal victory for civil liberties and protection of privacy within medicine.
The event, which will take place Sunday from 2 to 6:30 p.m. at El Capitan Canyon off of Calle Real, commemorates Dr. David Bearman’s battle with the Medical Board of California. Bearman fought and won his case in August after the board accused him of violating state law by recommending medicinal marijuana to a patient suffering from migraines. He said the proceeds of the event, which he expects to draw between 200 and 300 people and raise approximately $10,000, will be used to help pay for the legal fees he incurred during his court case.
“Any assistance in deferring legal costs would be appreciated,” he said.
Admission to the event is by donation, which is a suggested $75 for adults and $35 for students, but a flier for the event said no one will be turned away due to lack of money. Food from the barbecue costs an additional $15 and requires an RSVP.
The Freedom Celebration festivities will include a silent auction and live music, with performances by Ron Paris, the Four Elements, Stiff Pickle Orchestra and Porch Dogs. Guest performers will include Bob Potter, Bob Lewis and Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket.
Bearman will be speaking at the event, along with several guest speakers, including Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Judge James Gray and Joyce Howerton, the former mayor of Lompoc.
Bearman, a local medical practitioner who founded the Isla Vista Medical Clinic in 1970, said he taught the first course on substance abuse at UCSB in 1972. In his case against the Medical Board of California, Bearman said he argued that the board could not invade doctor-patient privileges solely on suspicion of misconduct.
According to the Drug Policy Alliance website, Bearman won the case when the medical board “failed to demonstrate sufficient facts to support a finding of good cause to invade the patient’s right of privacy and threw out the case.”
Bearman said Sir William Osler, who wrote the first book on internal medicine in the 19th century, cited cannabis as a useful treatment of migraine headaches.
“All drugs have some side effects,” he said. “The role of the physician is to weigh the therapeutic effect and the side effect.”
Those who would like more information about the Freedom Celebration or wish to RSVP to the event should call (805) 961-9988.