Defying the predictions of
medical marijuana advocates, a jury has convicted Bryan James Epis on federal
marijuana production charges. Prosecutors alleged that Epis, who
helped found and supply Chico Medical Marijuana Caregivers, was planning
to grow as many as a thousand plants for profit. Epis argued that
while he indeed grew marijuana, he did not do so for profit and was only
trying to help sick Californians in compliance with state law.
Epis, 35, now faces a mandatory
minimum ten-year prison sentence.
The trial could be a harbinger
of things to come as California medical marijuana advocates find themselves
in an increasingly tense and heated conflict with the federal government.
It was marked by accusations of obstruction of justice against Epis and
Oakland Cannabis Co-op head Jeff Jones; Jones attempted to familiarize
jurors with the concept of jury nullification, and Epis was accused by
US District Judge Frank Damrell of doing so. Damrell dismissed one
batch of potential jurors before the trial could get underway because of
the pamphleteering, and had Jones briefly arrested. Epis returns
to Damrell's court on August 1 for a hearing on the obstruction of justice
Police also barred Epis supporters
from demonstrating at their usual spot outside the courthouse.
If hang 'em high federal
judges in California want to continue to preside over medical marijuana
cases, they better get used to unruly demonstrators. The medical
marijuana movement is becoming increasingly militant and proactive as the
Justice Department and the DEA continue to turn up the pressure.
-- END --
Issue #245, 7/12/02
Editorial: What People Are Thinking | British Cannabis Decrim: One Step Forward, One Step Sideways, One Step Back | US Drug War: Trouble Down South America Way | Motorist Flexing Rights Doesn't Sit Well With NC Cops -- Man Arrested, Lawsuit Pending | DC Medical Marijuana Initiative Will Be on November Ballot -- Unless Congress Quashes It Again | Newsbrief: Nevada Marijuana Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot | Newsbrief: Federal Jury Convicts in California Medical Marijuana Case | Newsbrief: New Jersey Weedman Strikes Again | Newsbrief: Kid Turned in Dad's Pot Grow, Did "Right Thing" -- or Did He? | Newsbrief: Canada Just Says No to Workplace Drug Testing | The Reformer's Calendar
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