My name is Dale Schafer and I’m a father, grandfather, attorney, veteran, educator, guitar player and a convicted federal drug felon.
I was a Navy Hospital Corpsman during the Viet Nam war. I was trained in battlefield medicine, but also worked in general surgery, cancer and hospice care, trauma and orthopedic surgery. Witnessed too much death and destruction and now have been given a diagnosis of PTSD.
Undergraduate was initially in pre-med with heavy emphasis in science and math. Finished my undergrad in Social Sciences, with an emphasis in history, and received my BA from California State University Sacramento. In trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, I spent a year in the teaching program, teaching history, advanced math and college prep to high school students for a year.
While attending my undergrad studies, I worked in an emergency room in trauma medicine. I was trained in the Navy to assist orthopedic surgeons so I stabilized fractures, performed CPR and had various involvement with very ill patients. The death and destruction no doubt contributed to my PTSD diagnosis.
After repairing antique furniture for a year, I decided to attend law school. I transferred from the ER to the orthopedic clinic to work during the day and attend law school at night. I attended the University of Northern California School of law and became an attorney. I was happy to leave medicine, too much more death and destruction. I learned to be a trial attorney by representing physicians in medical malpractice actions and serious injury cases.
In 1997, my then physician wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent four rounds of chemo and used medical cannabis to survive. When she got out of the woods, we, as an attorney/physician team, began to recommend medical cannabis under California’s new Compassionate Use Act. We were targeted by the DEA, and were prosecuted for manufacturing cannabis, based upon my efforts to grow cannabis for her, and several other very sick people. We were both sentenced to 60 month minimum mandatory sentences in federal prison, having just been released in September of 2015.
I’m the proud father of five adult children, grandfather to six and Papa to many. My experience in prison, and the mandatory drug programs I was forced to attend, set me on a mission to remove drug use from the criminal justice system, allow treatment specialists to offer ALL options to those suffering from an unhealthy relationship to substances, reform the criminal justice system, afford Veterans the care they need and normalize cannabis in our society.