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Sentencing in Charles Lynch California Medical Marijuana Case DelayedTim King Salem-News.com
A case we have been following for months; Charles Lynch faces prison even though he didn't violate state law.
(LOS ANGELES) - Sentencing in the case of Morro Bay, California medical marijuana dispensary owner Charles Lynch, has been delayed in a Los Angeles Federal Court.
Lynch, who is 47, was pursued by a California Sheriff as part of an alleged personal vendetta. In fact, local law enforcement reportedly used the name of a convicted child molester also named Charles Lynch, to confuse people and turn them against the legal dispensary owner, in the course of their investigation.
San Luis Obispo Sheriff Pat Hedges called in the DEA and their agents worked for months to find some kind of illegal activity to bust Lynch on.
Finally, after the DEA had been in place for some time, an off duty security guard who worked for Lynch was arrested for selling some pot to an undercover agent. Almost immediately, Lynch's doors were kicked in and his dispensary that supplied medicine to a sizable base of patients, was raided.
After the initial bust, Lynch resumed operations and then found himself facing extreme charges for what stemmed from the act of an off duty security guard. Morro Bay's Mayor and Chamber of Commerce Director along with other city officials, have steadfastly denied that Lynch is anything but a legal and progressive businessman who helped a lot of people and gave a lot to the community.
Throughout the entire federal case, his attorneys have never once been allowed to mention the fact that Lynch was perfectly legal under California state law. In fact the law itself was barred from even being discussed.
Lynch's list of supporters includes people like Drew Carey, Melissa Ethridge, Gary Shandling and a long list of others. I'm not sure if they were always his friends. I suspect this has had a lot to do with it. People in America are largely tired of the federal government trumping state laws that voters approve.
Another of Lynch's supporters wrote:
"Hello Charlie, my name is Sgt. Zachary S. and I am currently serving in Afghanistan as an Infantry Team Leader. I am sorry to hear about your case and I think it is just stupid what the federal government is doing to you."
It looks like people from every walk of life are unhappy about watching this happen, when every single thing Charles Lynch was doing was completely legal under California law.
The soldier concluded with, "I wish you well, and hope you win your case. Me and the guys of HSC, 101 DSTB, 101 Airborne Division are pulling for you."
Lynch's case has been covered by one major news agency after another. He has appeared with John Stossel on ABC News, Al Roker on NBC News and Larry King Live, just to name a few.
The bottom line is that the only way Hedges was able to get this case going in the first place is because Lynch was, like nearly all medical marijuana users, not legal under the antiquated federal law, one strongly endorsed by people like George W. Bush.
I say nearly because there is, no matter what the federal government agencies admit, a national federal medical marijuana program. There are still several people on it, and they get their weed from Uncle Sam himself, and it is grown at the University of Mississippi.
The DEA and the FBI speak out of both sides of their mouths when they say the federal government does not recognize medical marijuana; it does and that is a fact. Technically, the books are written in a way that allow them to have their 'dual law theory,' but experts in medical marijuana say it is a joke.
At any rate, Lynch was convicted by a county sheriff on a federal charge, and he never violated California law.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently said that the only medical marijuana dispensary cases the Department of Justice would pursue in the future are the ones that violate both state and federal law.
Lynch's attorneys made an argument before the court today and that is reportedly what led to the sentencing delay.
Perhaps this is all coming together in Lynch's favor. I know many people who were very concerned that he could be sentenced to prison today and there is an obvious sigh of relief in the air over the postponement.
By the estimate of many, it makes little sense to send Lynch to prison and he should be allowed, after all he has been through, to go back to what he was doing in Morro Bay, which by coincidence is the place I was lucky enough to move to when I was 16. It is also the place where I lost my parents two summers ago; at the time this case against Lynch first began.
Like our medical writer Dr. Phil Leveque, they were conservative WWII era Americans who thought anything that helped people feel better was a good thing. They knew medical marijuana was legal and helpful, and these members of the "Greatest Generation" were able to get past their social problems and learn a few things about cannabis. They were amazed with what they learned.
The judge's decision has at this point, been delayed until June 11, 2009 in federal court in Los Angeles.
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
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