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Will a California Court Martyr Charles Lynch or Avoid Disaster?Tim King Salem-News.com
Sentencing is set for Monday, and one law-abiding citizen may be imprisoned for decades.
(SALEM, Ore.) - A California man who ran a medical marijuana dispensary in Morro Bay, faces 100 years in prison for a crime he didn't even commit. The San Luis Obispo, California Sheriff Pat Hedges, tried and tried to catch Lynch doing something illegal, but he simply wasn't violating the law.
The lawless Sheriff had a personal grudge against marijuana and a determination to rid his county of something that voters approved, plain and simple.
After exhausting his local resources, SLO Sheriff Hedges brought in federal agents from the DEA and they finally got a security guard to sell some pot to them. The security guard wasn't even near the dispensary, miles away in fact, but that didn't stop the DEA from creating a connection to Charles Lynch.
That was the event that made the walls come tumbling down.
The next thing Lynch knew, a dozen or so cops stormed his residence and took him to the floor and put a gun to his head. Everything he had worked to create; a business sanctioned by the local mayor and chamber of commerce, was gone forever in a moment.
And that was just the beginning for Lynch, whose life has been left hanging far longer than anyone should have to endure.
The whole thing reminds me of a similar situation called the Iraq War. Elected officials get a personal vendetta rolling, then they lie and mislead and use the media to convict; then they attack relying only on the ignorance of the public to get them by.
It worked for eight years but that nonsense is, in many ways, grinding to a screeching halt...
Now the President of the United States has been clear once again. The Gestapo-like DEA thugs who are like a dark force in this nation, are done going after people and businesses that are legal by their state law.
Even if they violate some antiquated federal law.
Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that the new approach was consistent with statements made by President Obama in the campaign; and that said dispensaries operating in accord with California law would not be a priority for the administration.
He said the Justice Department’s enforcement policy would now be restricted to traffickers who falsely masqueraded as medical dispensaries and “use medical marijuana laws as a shield.” Mr. Holder said, "The policy is to go after those people who violate both federal and state law."
Since Charles Lynch did neither, how his case is affected by these recent announcements remains to be seen.
Lynch faces a minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of 100 years behind bars. His sentencing is Monday, March 23rd, 2009. Lynch did everything a person could have done to comply with the law and was burned by the big brother of the system that gave him its blessing.
In addition to the security guard fiasco, he was convicted of "selling marijuana to minors" because federal authorities consider anyone under 21 to be a minor. Of course that is not true; people become adults at the age of 18. The fact that all of the so-called minors were medical marijuana patients, and legally using the substance, was not allowed as testimony in court. Charles Lynch wasn't allowed to defend himself.
Big name celebrities like Drew Carey and Melissa Etheridge have come out in support of Lynch and several others have been actively supporting his fight for logic and justice in the twisted, backward and contradictory legal system that has convicted him of something the law said he could do.
The DEA is no longer allowed to do this to people; federal madness is trumped by Presidential reason. The madness is abating thanks to the Obama Administration and Eric Holder, but where does this leave Charles Lynch, and others in similar situations?
Imprisoning Lynch will give a black eye to every aspect of government in California and the rest of the nation. If Lynch is sent to a state prison he will become the center of a movement that will not stop until it wins his freedom.
Unjustifiable arrest and conviction go against the grain of the American Way. Charles Lynch's case is fast becoming the quintessential portrait of a system gone wrong, and great numbers across the nation are paying more than a little attention.
The support he's gained has crossed political lines and social boundaries, bringing to the forefront the highest risk associated with marijuana advocacy: incarceration. Polls show the majority of Americans do not consider marijuana a threat. The DEA however, they're another story.
It is about one thing and one thing only; and that is state's rights or in this case, the lack of them. It is not Charles Lynch's fault that our nation has been talking out both sides of its mouth.
President Obama and Attorney General Holder are clearly able to see the real nature of this, and have the ability to take action to ensure that Mr. Lynch, an individual regarded as a kind hearted and well-liked individual in his community, is allowed to not just be freed, but that his assets and business are restored to again help the sick people of Morro Bay; the town where I grew up as a teenager and have great memories of.
In this report, John Stossel of ABC News 2020 tells the story of Charles C. Lynch former owner of the Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Morro Bay. Other guests in the documentary include Drew Carey, Melissa Etheridge and Charlie's Federal Public Defenders Reuven Cohen and John Littrell.
Al Roker narrates a documentary on Marijuana in America. This highly edited version skips over most of the Government propaganda including Sheriff Pat Hedges talking about healthy looking people coming into the dispensary and focuses the story of Charles C. Lynch. Lynch is facing federal prison for operating his city sanctioned medical marijuana dispensary in Morro Bay, California. This documentary originally aired on 3-15-2009. Lynch will be sentenced on March 23, 2009 at the Federal Court House in Los Angeles.
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