Newsbrief: Feds Appeal Ed Rosenthal Sentence 7/11/03

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


Federal prosecutors who won a conviction against "ganja guru" and medical marijuana provider Ed Rosenthal, but lost the battle to send him to prison, were back in court July 3 seeking to appeal his slap-on-the-wrist one-day sentence plus probation. US attorneys filed a motion with the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to review the sentence handed down by US District Court Judge Charles Breyer.

Ed Rosenthal (photo
courtesy Green Aid)
Marijuana manufacture, the crime for which Rosenthal was convicted, normally carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence. Prosecutors had asked for 6 ½ years, but Breyer concluded that "the unique, extraordinary circumstances of this case" merited the dramatic downward departure in the sentence.

In a case that threw the harsh glare of the national and international media spotlight on the Bush administration's aggressive attack on medical marijuana, Rosenthal was arrested in February 2002 as he oversaw the production of medical marijuana in Oakland. Rosenthal was acting in accordance with California state law and had been deputized by the city of Oakland to grow medical marijuana. He was convicted in federal court in San Francisco after Judge Breyer refused to allow Rosenthal to use state law as a defense or even mention medical marijuana, but that successful outcome for prosecutors turned into a phyrric victory when jurors later publicly denounced their own verdict upon hearing the rest of the story.

The prosecutors' appeal was "not surprising," Rosenthal told the San Francisco Examiner. "They are wasting more taxpayers' money trying to put me in