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May-07-2010 15:38printcomments

Federal Judge Recommends Reclassification of Medical Marijuana

Judge Wu also removes random drug testing and some restrictions for Charles Lynch.

Federal District Judge George H. Wu
Federal District Judge George H. Wu

(LOS ANGELES) - Federal District Judge George H. Wu issued a revised 41-page written sentencing order this week for former medical cannabis provider, Charles C. Lynch. In addition, the Judge also granted the defense’s request for reduced supervised restrictions as Lynch remains out on $400,000 bail pending appeal. Lynch’s Federal Public Defender filed an appeal Thursday, May 6.

"[T]his case is not like that of a common drug dealer buying and selling drugs without regulation, government oversight, and with no other concern other than making profits. In this case, the defendant opened a marijuana dispensary under the guidelines set forth by the State of California . . . . His purpose for opening the dispensary was to provide marijuana to those who, under California law, [were] qualified to receive it for medical reasons."

The sentencing order states that Lynch was “caught in the middle of shifting positions” on the issue and that, “Much of the problems could be ameliorated…by the reclassification of marijuana from schedule I”

Lynch gained notoriety as a federal medical cannabis defendant after being raided, arrested, prosecuted and convicted under the Bush Administration but then sentenced after President Obama signaled a change in federal enforcement policy.

That notoriety came in part because of all of the support from the medical cannabis community that rallied around Lynch. The Judge acknowledges, in a footnote in his sentencing order, the massive out pouring of letters for Lynch:

Charles Lynch at his former business

“While simple popularity is not a factor to be considered, the Court notes that it has received more letters in support of Lynch in this matter than in any other case in the undersigned judicial officer’s 16 years on the federal and state benches.”

Judge Wu's call for the reclassification of marijuana comes as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is considering a petition, filed in 2002 by the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis.

After a multi-year-long review by the Department of Health and Human Services, the petition was recently sent to DEA, the final stage of the process. Acting DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart— who still must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate— has the authority to grant or deny the rescheduling.

Judge Wu ordered Lynch back into court April 29, 2010 to discuss his written decision. Both the Prosecution and the Defense pointed out errors in Wu’s written opinion, so Wu had to re-write it. Lynch claims there are still errors in the document.

Such as Judge Wu’s claim that Lynch should have known cannabis sold by one of his former employees to an undercover officers—in a parking lot at least 5 miles from the collective— came from Lynch’s collective. However, there was no evidence that the cannabis came from Lynch or his collective.

At that April 2010 court appearance, Judge Wu had forgotten that In June 2009 he verbally sentenced Lynch to one year and a day, and four years of supervised release, despite the 5-year mandatory minimum being sought by the Justice Department. Judge Wu also forgot he told Lynch he could remain out on bail pending appeal.

Charles Lynch's appearance on Larry King Live

Four months after that June 11th sentencing hearing, the Justice Department issued a memo directive in October to U.S. Attorneys, discouraging them from arresting and prosecuting medical marijuana patients and providers that follow state law.

Lynch remains released on bail pending his appeal, but cannot use medical marijuana according to the terms of his release. However Judge Wu agreed to remove the requirement that Lynch call in daily to see if he has to report to random drug testing.

Judge Wu also reduced Lynch’s supervision from “intense to routine”. Lynch had been driving over 200 miles to Los Angeles from his home in Arroyo Grande every two weeks for brief meetings with his probation officers. Lynch now can drive to Santa Barbara about once a month instead.

Before his medical cannabis collective was raided by DEA agents in March of 2007, Lynch had operated for 11 months without incident, and with the blessing of the Morro Bay Mayor, City Attorney, City Council, the local Chamber of Commerce, and other community members.

Two months after Lynch closed his dispensary, Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers, he was indicted and charged with conspiracy to possess and possession with intent to distribute marijuana and concentrated cannabis, manufacturing more than 100 plants, knowingly maintaining a drug premises, and sales of marijuana to a person under the age of 21. None of the federal charges Lynch was convicted of constituted violations of local or state law.

Currently, patients and providers are prevented from using a medical necessity or a state law defense in federal court. The Justice Department policy has failed to deter the prosecution of more than two dozen pending federal cases.

In response, Americans for Safe Access advocates for the passage of Congressional legislation -- HR 3939, the Truth in Trials Act -- which would give state law-compliant defendants a fighting chance in federal court.

Further Information: Federal Judge George Wu’s April 27th order: AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Lynch_Sentencing_Order.pdf

April 29th revised order: friendsofccl.com/documents/2010-04-29_LynchSentencingMemo.pdf Friends of Charles C. Lynch website: friendsofccl.com/

H.R. 393 “Truth in Trials Act”: americansforsafeaccess.org/section.php?id=354


Parts of this release come from a press release written by Kris Hermes for Americans for Safe Access.

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Jose Melendez May 26, 2010 10:19 am (Pacific time)

Dozens of references proving many of cannabinoids' other safe medical uses were published by the United States Department of Health and Human Services to apply for 2003 US Patent No. 6630507, "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants". Millions of otherwise law abiding citizens have been arrested on the basis of the false claim that cannabis has no safe, accepted medical use since HHS applied for that patent in 1999. Got reparations? Jose Melendez MOMP - Mutually Opposing Marijuana Prohibition

Famous Quotes May 9, 2010 4:33 pm (Pacific time)

"Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country." - Thomas Jefferson

"Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere." - George Washington

"When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn't like it, and I didn't inhale, and I never tried again." - Bill Clinton

"When I was a kid I inhaled frequently. That was the point." - Barack Obama quote on Marijuana

"Forty million Americans smoked marijuana; the only ones who didn't like it were Judge Ginsberg, Clarence Thomas and Bill Clinton." - Jay Leno

"We shall, by and by, want a world of hemp more for our own consumption." - John Adams

"Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marihuana in private for personal use... Therefore, I support legislation amending Federal law to eliminate all Federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marihuana." - Jimmy Carter, U.S. President quote on Marijuana

"The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world." - Carl Sagan quote on Marijuana

When we remember that we are all mad, mysteries disappear and life stands explained.-- Mark Twain

Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.- - Albert Einstein

1937: “Marihuana is the most violent drug in the history of mankind.” -- Congressional Testimony, H.J. Anslinger

1974: “Permanent brain damage is one of the inevitable results of the use of marijuana.” -- Ronald Reagan, in the Los Angeles Times.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"You`ll miss 100% of all the shots you don`t take." -- Wayne Gretsky

"Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others. . .they send forth a ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." -- Robert F. Kennedy

"...and hemp is invaluable as a medicine," -- George Washington, in his plea to congress to subsidize hemp farming.

"We need to reduce military budgets; raise living standards; engender respect for learning; support science, scholarship, invention, and industry; promote free inquiry; reduce domestic coercion; involve the workers more in managerial decisions; and promote genuine respect and understanding derived from an acknowledgement of our common humanity and our common jeopardy." -- Carl Sagan

"The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced." - Albert Einstein

"If we make peaceful revolution impossible, we make violent revolution inevitable." - John F. Kennedy

"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards out of men." - Abraham Lincoln

"Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God." - Thomas Jefferson

"No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent." - Abraham Lincoln

"Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded." - Abraham Lincoln

"God made pot. Man made beer. Who do you trust?" ~Graffiti

"Pharmaceutical companies will soon rule the world if we keep letting them believe we are a happy, functional society so long as all the women are on Prozac, all children on Ritalin, and all men on Viagra." ~Terri Guillemets

"An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law." - Martin Luther King Jr.

"That is not a drug. It’s a leaf," - Arnold Schwarzenegger

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