Medical Marijuana: California Dispensary Operator Faces Decades in Federal Prison at Sentencing Monday

The Obama administration may have put an end to the DEA raids on medical marijuana providers in states where it is legal (see story here), but the legacy of the Bush administration's crusade against medical marijuana continues. Morro Bay, California, dispensary operator Charles Lynch is a case in point. After having been convicted of federal marijuana law violations, he goes to court for sentencing Monday, where he faces a mandatory minimum five-year prison sentence and the possibility of up to 100 years behind bars.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/charlielynch.gif
Charlie Lynch (from friendsofccl.com)
Lynch did everything by the book. Before opening his business in April 2006, he first contacted the DEA, which eventually told him it was "up to cities and counties" to decide about dispensaries. He also sought and received all necessary business permits from the city of Morro Bay.

But that didn't stop a local law enforcement official bent on shutting down his Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers from going after him. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Pat Hedges unleashed an 11-month investigation into Lynch and the dispensary. He and his deputies surveilled the premises, took down license plate numbers and stopped the vehicles of dispensary workers and clients, and even resorted to using criminal undercover informants in a failed bid to get Lynch to violate state law.

Sheriff Pat Hedges couldn't find enough evidence against Lynch to even get a search warrant from state courts, so he turned to the DEA. On March 29, 2007, the feds hit full-force, raiding the dispensary and Lynch's home in full paramilitary attire. Lynch was not arrested at the time, and reopened the dispensary on April 7, 2007. The DEA then threatened the dispensary's landlord with seizure of his property if he didn't evict the Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers. On May 16, 2007, the dispensary shut down for good.

The DEA wasn't done with Lynch. Two months later, in yet another paramilitary-style raid, they arrested Lynch at his home and charged him with five counts of violating the federal marijuana laws.

After a trial in which -- as is always the case in federal court -- neither California's medical marijuana law nor the fact that Lynch was operating under it could be admitted as evidence, a jury convicted him of all counts in August 2008.

Lynch has received strong support from his local community, as well as sympathizers across the state and country. Demonstrations have been (and will be) held to demand justice in his case. Whether community support for Lynch or the Obama administration's commitment to not prosecute cases that do not involve violations of state medical marijuana laws will have any impact will only be found out Monday.

With the Obama administration's pronouncements so far on medical marijuana, it may be that the era of federal raids on medical marijuana providers is over. But as long as people like Charles Lynch are facing years in federal prison and others are serving sentences there, there is still some unfinished business if justice is to be served.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Obama must pardon this guy

If Lynch gets sentenced to any prison time, the movement for justice and liberty must come out in force to demand and secure a Presidential pardon. Nothing less will suffice.

Stump

I hope this guy can get enough support around to him to make a stink of his sentencing if it comes down wrong.

We have to stop the ridiculousness.

turn him loose

We must all keep raising hell until this man is freed.
I am quite dissappointed with President Obama's on his stand on drugs. The last two presidents admited to using them and so did he.
The prison industry is far too powerful and we must keep on fighting

Time to move!

Lets stop the "Lynching"! I hope there are, some organized, responses, in the works at the Federal building, where this is to take place! It should get a lot of media support!

Stop Impisoning the Innocent

Start putting the criminals in the prisons, not the innocent weed users. Or growers, especially the people who grow the weed for the sick/dying. How can anyone be so cruel as to deny medicine---a non-lethal one at that--- to those who truly need it? And what about the ones with PTSD or depression or anorexia? Seriously. It aids those three ailments, too.
Let's get real and do the right thing for everybody for a change. Empty out the prisons for the truly bad guys and start taxing marijuana.

The Making of a Martyr

Since Charles was busted I have written numerous blogs about his case over at DailyKos, FireDogLake, NeverInOurNames, I have left written comments about him at the Washington Post, the New York Times, and any where else it was possible. Many of the traditional media have run his story lately. Al Roker, John Stossel, Micheal Moore, Melissa Etherridge and countless others have been trying to help Charles. It all comes down to what the judge does on monday. With Federal min. mandatory sentences I fully expect to see Charles given at least 25 yrs, and remember the Feds no longer have a parole system. That is 5 yrs for each count he has been charged with. 25 yrs for trying to supply legal medicine to those in extreme pain shows just how outdated the Drug War is.
Please ask everyone you know to write to, or call the White House Switchboard and ask that Pres. Obama Pardon Charles Lynch before he becomes a Martyr.

LET'S GET SERIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LET'S GET SERIOUS
Please go to this website. Watch the videos Send website to Friends. Contact your Local, State, and Federal ELECTED OFFICAL'S

http://www.newagecitizen.com/index.htm

As I write this I am

As I write this I am saddened once again. If Science and politics are to be truely separated, then how can such things continue to be happening. Mr Obama openly admits to using marijuana, like millions before and after him. There was no victim, and no harm caused. He carries with him the hope of a nation, and obviously has all of his brain cells intact. I cannot help but wonder what might have become of this great man had he been caught using marijuana. Would his right to an education been stripped from him? Would he ever have had the chance to become the leader of the free world? Probably not, and for this unjust , biased way in which the government continues to view this plant, this intellegent man's life could have turned out totally different. Unfortunately, lives were destroyed for millions who were caught. The time has come for real reform, and as the American College of Physicians have recently presented a position paper asking ,after more than 30 clinical trials have shown astounding results,in it's use as medicine we are reminded that we have been right all along.

I think

that he will be fine. He did everything by the law so he should be just fine.

Taking Action

This is absolutely ridiculous. It is hard to believe this issue has been ignored for so long.

What are you going to do?

This shows how demented the anti pot forces are.This is against everything your country is supposed to stand for.This guy will be the poster boy for marijuana for how many years?One of ours just hung himself rather than face American "justice".It's not a real war when only one side is shooting.

I believe!

What can we do? Not being an ass either... I really want to know!

MMARIJUANA

Obama promised a stop to the  D.E.A. along with other agencies to stop raiding or arresting medical marijuana dispensaries or pharmacies, a promise made by as "Commander-in-Chief", but the D.E.A. has chosen to ignore his orders--- IF THEY DO NOT HAVE TO FOLLOW FEDERAL ORDERS OF THE "COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, WHY SHOULD WE--WITH ARIZONA BRINGING THE NUMBER OF STATES TO 25, HALF OF THE USA, WE HAVE THE NUMBERS TO PREVENT WHAT NIXON DID,IGNORE THE MASS OF THE PEOPLE, AND TOTALLY BAN MARIJUANA--IF YOU DON'T THINK IT CAN HAPPEN AGAIN--------------------------------------------------YOU ARE IGNORANT------------------------------------------------------------------------------Nixon did this before the Patriot Act ("POWER") which allows them to enter your home take anyone away if they decide to suspect them a terrorist -and keep them anywhere where for as long as wanted without lawyer, no family contact---and do whatever

IF THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA USERS, SELLERS,(in legal 25 states) AND THE  SUPPORTIVE  PEOPLE--- IN THE STATES NOT YET VOTED IN,--- ALL WITHHELD THEIR FEDERAL INCOME TAX ---- IF IT WERE HELD UP UNTIL JUST BEFORE THE FEDS COULD ARREST YOU, OR JUST BEFORE THEY COULD SELL YOUR ATTACHED PROPERTY, BUT YOU COULD STILL GET IT BACK ( GRANTED WE WOULD HAVE TO PAY PENALTIES, BUT DON'T EXPECT ANY CHANGE WITH OUT COST) -- WE COULD WIN OVER THE OTHER 25 STATES---"FEDERAL REPRESENTATIVES VOTE WITH LARGE MASSES OF PEOPLE"

THOSE OF US OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER WHEN MARIJUANA WAS READY TO BE LEGALIZED ACROSS THE BOARD, NO MEDICAL CARDS,JUST GROW ALL YOU WANTED AND USE IT. THEN NIXON CAME INTO OFFICE AND WITH A SWIPE OF HIS PEN IT WAS ALL GONE

WHEN YOU WORRY ABOUT A TAX PENALTY, REMEMBER THE  STATE MASSACRE -- IF YOU ARE OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER THE KENT STATE MASSACRE- IT WAS A PEACEFUL MARCH AGAINST THE ILLEGAL US BOMBING OF CAMBODIA - SUPPOSEDLY A FIRECRACKER WAS SET OFF IN THE DISTANCE, THE GUARDSMEN( guarding dangerous 17-19 yo  UNARMED college students )  FIRED 63 ROUNDS KILLING 4 STUDENTS, WOUNDING 9, 1 PARALYZED - SOME OF THE STUDENTS SHOT WERE NOT PROTESTING, BUT SIMPLY WALKING NEARBY.

SO IF YOU THINK PAYING A TAX PENALTY TO GET BACK ONE OF OUR LOST RIGHTS, ONE WHICH WILL HELP MILLIONS EASE THEIR PAIN,OTHERS IT WILL HELP DIE WITH DIGNITY,----MARAJUANA IS ALL I NEED. YET THEY PUMP ME FULL OF HUNDREDS OF MILLIGRAMS OF MORPHINE A DAY- STILL IN PAIN SH.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School