Ed Rosenthal Decision: Victory or Setback?

  Ed Rosenthal Decision: Victory or Setback?

Posted by CN Staff on June 06, 2003 at 23:19:57 PT
Feature Article By Mikki Norris 
Source: Media Awareness Project 

I had the fortune to attend some of Ed Rosenthal's hearings, trial and yesterday's sentencing hearing. For those of us who witnessed the proceedings, we can say that we were extremely happy with the results. I see Breyer's ruling as a real victory for our issue. "No jail for pot" prevailed in this case. First of all, I must give the Rosenthals a lot of credit for displaying the courage and taking the gamble of really fighting for justice in their case. Ed had no intention of becoming a "martyr" and he did everything in his power not to become one. 
It proves that giving your all to this fight can produce good results. It shows that standing up for yourself can pay off. Many of us understand the great pressure there is to take a deal, or play along with "their rules," compromise, or "cooperate with the government." But, he refused to relent and challenged the government every step of the way, and pushed the envelope.We must recognize that it takes a lot of money to launch this kind of defense, and not everyone can do this. But, a vigorous effort was made by the Rosenthals and the legal defense fund, Green Aid, to raise needed cash. They have been tireless in the amount of personal time they have devoted in public appearances, drumming up support, and capturing the collective imagination. They made this clear that this is about medical marijuana and not just themselves. Besides money (and much more is still needed), a lot of time and energy have been donated to this effort. Hopefully Green Aid will continue to increase its fund and influence as there are still many cases to fight. See -- course the Rosenthals could not have done it alone. A fantastic team was assembled for this fight. The legal team (Robert Eye, Bill Simpich, Joe Elford, Ephraim Margolin, Dennis Riordan, and their consultants including William Logan and others) did a wonderful job of challenging the government on the legal front. The attorneys had lots of issues to fight on, and brought all of them up. They are experienced and smart. Even though they lost the trial, they have a lot of appealable issues which they are pursuing, and can set precedents in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals if they win. Much credit for this sentencing victory should also go to the media team of Teresa Schilling and William Dolphin, who scored with the Dateline special and such editorials as published by the New York Times. The activist team of Steph Sherer, Hillary McQuie along with Americans for Safe Access activists and Green Aid (the legal defense fund with Virginia Resner as president of the board) also did a great job of keeping this issue in the public eye. A lot of support was also given by activists, drug policy reformers, and others -- too many to mention -- but who all deserve thank you's for working to bring attention this case. We also could not have achieved this victory without the jurors who stood up in Ed's behalf also, along with a letter from California's attorney general somewhat defending California's law.But it seems like we scored big in the court of public opinion which Judge Breyer could not ignore. The Bush Administration can not deny that medical marijuana is popular with the public. Most people and major media outlets in this country now believe that marijuana is medicine, and that people should not go to prison for this. What happened yesterday in court should send a message to the federal government. First, although Breyer let the government play out their game of denying whole truth in trials, he also yielded to public opinion. Don't get me wrong, I am not a fan of Judge Breyer, but he showed that he understood that the conflict between state law and federal law should be resolved (he mentioned that Congress should address this). He even mentioned how he could understand how lay people (who are not in the legal field) are reasonable in thinking they may be protected by law because of this conflict. At the same time that he wanted to make it clear that this is a "unique" case and so deserves a unique sentence, he warned that this approach should not be tried by others (he ruled that future people do not have immunity from their local governments to provide or do anything with medical marijuana). But, winning in the court of public opinion makes a difference. We need to pursue this in future and past cases, by pointing out the injustices that have been and are being committed by this conflict of law. This should give politicians the courage to correct this by supporting HR 1717 and HR 2233.While we were celebrating, many of us were wondering how Ashcroft and Walters were dealing with this. Do the Feds believe that they can not win future cases? I seriously doubt it. In fact, the DEA spokesperson said that they still plan on pursuing dangerous drugs and their efforts to keep them off the streets (including medical marijuana). But, I am not sure what they hope to gain by going after providers that are providing safe access. They sound increasingly stupid, vindictive, and wasteful. We need an accounting on how much these prosecutions cost, especially at a time of budget deficits. Where are their priorities? It's time to reign them in.While many cringed at Ed's lack of thankfulness to Judge Breyer during his post-sentencing press conference, and his making it clear that he has a broader agenda of legalizing marijuana, he may have done the movement a favor. He not only pointed out that it is serious to be labeled a "convicted felon" and that it is unacceptable for marijuana offenses, but he has opened up the debate on prohibition. Our local NBC affiliate did an analysis on what this court case means. He actually drew a comparison to the days of ending alcohol prohibition state by state. People are not only questioning medical marijuana prohibition but marijuana prohibition, too.Of course the federal government gets this. That's why they are so hard on medical marijuana and the perceived "slippery slope" to ending marijuana prohibition and the Drug War in general. While medical marijuana has legitimacy in its own right, it is also time to bring up the broader issue of our marijuana policies that are still concentrating on arrests and incarcerations as a way of controlling access. This is a failed policy, and its time to reassess this and double our efforts to point this out. (I am personally advocating for taxing and regulating marijuana for adults to do a better job of regulation than the free-for-all market that we currently have. It is also a much-needed revenue generator). We must not perceive this as a time to claim victory and stop working. We are a recognized "movement," that has been validated. We should take this as a momentum builder. We should be energized by this, not depleted. We must take this day in court and use it to show that humanitarianism (providing medicine to sick and dying people), compassion, mercy, and truth have a role to play not only in the courts but in society as well. We must reinforce this message over and over in all arenas -- political, media, general public, etc.Thanks Ed and everyone who contributed to this victory for pushing the envelope. It's time to recognize and celebrate our victories. Now, let's get to work and really manifest our vision of freedom, justice, and equal rights for all!Source: The Media Awareness Project (MAP) Inc. - D/B/a DrugSenseAuthor: Mikki NorrisPublished: June 6, 2003Contact: greer drugsense.orgWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Green-Aid For Safe Accesshttp://www.safeaccessnow.orgCannabis Consumerhttp://www.cannabisconsumers.orgEd Rosenthal's Trial Pictures & Articles Weekly -- June 6, 2003 # 303 Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #7 posted by Rev Jonathan Adler on June 10, 2003 at 22:06:23 PT:
Delay of Justice/ Still Denied!
Aloha, Victory or setback? Well from my perspective (6 months in jail after winning my case) it was a joke. How can he be convicted and not punished? I was found legal and then immediately jailed! Also, he lost his case, no precedent, other than the unusual sentencing, was set. They have dodged the negative public image that a long sentence might have generated, but they have not yet budged from their stance of denial. I am confident the truth will emerge as a religious-medical or "sacramedical" application is recognized as immune from prosecution. So just let it alone already!
Mahalos from Paradise. Rev. Jonathan Adler
Hawaii Medical Marijuana Institute
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Comment #6 posted by freedom fighter on June 08, 2003 at 00:35:35 PT
ahh, Just wondering how one can have a "meaningful communication" with an idiot? Especially with those idiots who can put many in cages for growing plants that killed nobody?How can a 6'6" tall, 200 pounds man can deal with this Debra who said, " I am for med. marij but I think Ed should sit in a cage for XXX amounts becuz it is a law!"?Ahh, cowdung! I think I ought to find me a red brick and smack someone's head in order to have a "meaningful communication".pacepazpeaceff
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Comment #5 posted by CorvallisEric on June 07, 2003 at 22:20:23 PT
Letters to columnists and editors
I may be an old fuddy-duddy and I realize talk radio has made "in-your-face" communication fashionable. But I think that calling people names like "idiot", even if justified, causes them to become defensive, fight back harder, and prevents meaningful communication. Just my opinion.
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Comment #4 posted by Truth on June 07, 2003 at 08:00:40 PT
Debra Sanders
Debra wrote about the decision, I sent her a letter, she actually wrote back, so I had to reply.-->
>-----Original Message-----
>Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2003 8:36 AM
>To: Saunders, Debra
>Subject: Ed
>To compare Ed's actions (helping sick folks feel better)with Rudolphs
>(blowing up people) shows what an idiot you are. You can change,
>though, even ignorant people can show compassion.
>Have a heart.
>Mark On Thu, 5 Jun 2003 09:54:16  
 Saunders, Debra wrote:
>The principle is the same. I'm such an idiot I actually believe in
>principles and don't discard them when they don't work my way.
>DJSSorry Deb, blowing up people, or medicating them, the same principle????? Starbucks is hiring.Mark 
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Comment #3 posted by mayan on June 07, 2003 at 07:02:36 PT
Eye Opener
I remember when Ed first got busted. I was thinking to myself that his trial would surely open a lot of eyes and that something good would somehow come from it. Did it ever!!! Surely the feds are scratching their heads over this one. Our Last, Best Hope - Jury Nullification: OF THE SWASTIKA: The Real Reason the Government Won't Debate Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Re-legalization way out is the way in...Subscriber Buys FTW Full Page Ad in the Charleston-Aiken Post & Courier: the Ad...
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on June 07, 2003 at 00:55:02 PT
To gather what has been scattered.
6:7:3to RhymnRzn who led Me to Psalm 1:3 yesterday. (I gotta share this and it is also at the Christians for Cannabis forum: ) often speak about how the 1st page of the Bible sets it straight: (all the green plants are good) Gen. 1:11-12 & 29-30, with verse 31 being relevant but actually on the 2nd page of My Bible. I read how in many places through out the Bible, it reverts to the beginning, which is the 1st page of the Bible, and how it is where the beginning is described, Biblically. I mention about the last page and its connections to indicating that cannabis is the TREE OF LIFE. I have mentioned how Malachi which is the last book of the Old Testament, contains the subtitled section SIN OF THE PRIESTS, (Malachi 1:6-14) which describes that cannabis prohibition is a product of evil failed clergy. Now I read the 1st Psalms, Psalm 1:1-8, which is titled: The Righteous and the Wicked Contrasted. Psalm 1 also reverts to the very 1st page of the Bible AND the very last page of the Bible. I have indicated all living people are Christians and how it can not be denied. Deny being Christian? How can You deny Christ when Your birth date is in direct relationship to a date Christ had with Us. So if You were born in 1960, that date is 1,960 years after the time of Christ... It is inescapable, You are marked according to Him. Now the Psalms have a bit of separation from the rest of the Bible: it is different. But here again We see reference to the Beginning. Let Us look.
Psalm 1:1-6, How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, (the council of the wicked, strays from the 1st page where it says all the green plants are good) Nor stand in the path of sinners, (ditto) Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! (ditto) But his delight is in the law of the LORD, (when God says all the green plants are good, THAT IS THE LAW) And in His law he meditates day and night ( A DIRECT reference to the Beginning on the 1st page of the Bible) He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; (this is a DIRECT reference to the very last page of the Bible where in Rev. 22: subtitled The River and the Tree of Life, it describes it as it is described right here in Psalm 1:3) And in whatever he does, he prospers. (verse 4) The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish. (The Tree of Life is unintended for the Wicked, and cannabis which is the Tree of Life, and has extra powers only makes those extra powers available to those who are obedient Christians).Then in Psalm 2, right away it comes out and asks in Psalm 2:1, Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? (because as the Rev. 22 area states: the leaves of the Tree of Life are for the healing of the nations, We live in a time when My nation denies God, denies the Tree of Life, which has leaves to heal the nations, and to deny the Tree of Life will lead to the nations being in an uproar.) (Cannabis, the Tree of Life heals the nations yet is prohibited, that's why)1st and last everywhere, it seems, the Bible states cannabis IS GOOD.Those who would prohibit cannabis are wicked evil.
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Comment #1 posted by SoberStoner on June 07, 2003 at 00:17:16 PT
This is a great analysis of the situation.This is far from over, in fact, we may have only just begun.As much as I have been speaking about Ed and his sentance, I have failed to congratulate Ed. I have done so on purpose, because I dont believe he is done yet, and judging by his comments, he certainly doesnt sound like he is done. I am pleased he isnt going to jail. However, no matter what the sentance was, the fact remains the Ed lost the case. That one fact alone makes this entire trial a travesty, let alone the circumstances surrounding it. When all this is said and done, I think Ed will be vindicated, as this trial has recieved more good publicity than I have seen in a long time and he truly does seem to have a lot of popular support. Good luck Ed. I pray that your appeal will overturn this bogus conviction as well as topple 70 years of lies. You never wanted to be a leader, but to many, you are now a hero.SS
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