Out of Control Policy Blog

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Owner Charles Lynch Sentenced to One Year in Prison

The Associated Press reports:

 A federal judge in Los Angeles has sentenced a medical marijuana dispensary owner to a year and a day in prison in one of the nation's first such cases since the Obama administration adjusted its pot policy.

U.S. District Judge George Wu on Thursday found that the case of 47-year-old Charles Lynch merited an exception to the mandatory minimum five-year sentence that guidelines called for.Lynch was convicted of five marijuana-related offenses last year for running a medical marijuana dispensary collective in San Luis Obispo County.

He sought leniency after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced earlier this year that federal agents will now target marijuana distributors only when they violate both federal and state laws.

Reason.tv's Drew Carey first told Lynch's story a year ago. Lynch owned and operated a medical marijuana dispensary that was completely legal under state and local laws. He also had the support of the town's mayor and sheriff. But federal authorities ignored California's laws and prosecuted Lynch under federal drug laws. The jury that convicted Lynch wasn't even allowed to know that he was legally providing medical marijuana only to patients with prescriptions from their doctors. Reason.tv's newest video recaps Lynch's situation and features interview footage with one of the jurors. The video was produced in collaboration with Everloving Records and features Chris Darrow’s song “Whipping Boy.”

Reason.tv's Drew Carey Tells Charlie Lynch's Story

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Comments to "Medical Marijuana Dispensary Owner Charles Lynch Sentenced to One Year in Prison":

Adrian | June 11, 2009, 3:07pm | #

Well, this is better than it might of been, but not as good as it should have been. The Obama administration should have been more aggressive in pushing to drop this prosecution.

I have been struck by how many folks I know in CA that have reacted to this case with particular outrage that the original trial judge would not allow Lynch's defense to in any way mention the state law that allowed his dispensary, or the local government support for him.

akromper | June 12, 2009, 12:10pm | #

Obama, write him a pardon immediately and release him.

David | June 12, 2009, 3:07pm | #

Where are you Obama, I thought you lived according to principles

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