cannabisnews.com: Court Overturns 'Guru of Ganja's' Conviction










††Court Overturns 'Guru of Ganja's' Conviction

Posted by CN Staff on April 26, 2006 at 10:40:17 PT
By David Kravets, The Associated Press†
Source: Associated Press†

San Francisco -- A federal appeals court on Wednesday overturned the self-proclaimed "Guru of Ganja's" pot cultivation conviction because of jury misconduct, but otherwise upheld federal powers to charge marijuana growers.Ed Rosenthal, who has written books on how to grow marijuana and how to avoid getting caught, was convicted here more than two years ago for cultivating hundreds of marijuana plants for a city of Oakland medical marijuana program.
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer sentenced Rosenthal to one day in prison, saying the Oakland man reasonably believed he was immune from prosecution because he was acting on behalf of city officials.The government sought a two-year prison term and appealed, arguing Breyer did not have the authority to give such a light sentence - a position the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said "it was not inclined to disturb." Rosenthal cross-appealed, saying he was immune from prosecution or should have been given the right to tell jurors he was growing marijuana for medicinal reasons - both points the appeals court also rejected.Rosenthal's prosecution underscored the federal government's position that medical marijuana is illegal, it has no medical value, and the will of California voters has no affect on federal drug laws. The prosecution received national attention, in part, because of Rosenthal's status as a leading author and proponent of marijuana, while at the same time the Drug Enforcement Administration was raiding Northern California marijuana dispensaries that distributed pot to sick and dying patients.A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based appeals court unanimously overturned the conviction Wednesday because it was concerned that a juror committed misconduct and was not removed from the panel. "Juror A" asked an attorney during the trial whether she had to follow the law or could vote her conscience because she suspected Rosenthal was growing marijuana for medicinal uses. The attorney told the woman she must follow Breyer's instructions to follow federal law or she would get in "trouble.""We hold that here the communication was an improper influence upon Juror A's decision to acquit or convict," the appeals court wrote.While the case was on appeal, and despite Rosenthal's claims, the Supreme Court ruled again that the federal government can prosecute medical marijuana growers and users despite California's medical marijuana law.That decision, which applied retroactively, grounded into law the government's authority to undermine California's medical marijuana law and those in 10 other states.The Supreme Court also ruled in an unrelated case, while Rosenthal's prosecution was pending appeal, that federal judges do not have to follow congressional sentencing guidelines. That decision was also retroactive.Following Rosenthal's conviction, nine of the 12 jurors decried their own verdict once reporters told them Rosenthal's defense, which Breyer said was not allowed under the law.Rosenthal once wrote the "Ask Ed" column for High Times magazine and has written books with titles including "The Big Book of Buds" and "Ask Ed: Marijuana Law. Don't Get Busted."The case is United States v. Rosenthal, 03-10307.Editors: David Kravets has been covering state and federal courts for more than a decade.Complete Title: Court Overturns 'Guru of Ganja's' Cultivation Conviction Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: David Kravets, The Associated Press Published: April 26, 2006 Copyright: 2006 Associated Press Related Articles & Web Site:Ed Rosenthal's Pictures & Articles http://freedomtoexhale.com/trialpics.htmReefer Madness: Our Current Prohibitionhttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread16587.shtmlTwist Ends Medical Marijuana Casehttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread16545.shtmlGuru's Tirade on Marijuana Earns Respect http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread16540.shtml 

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Comment #27 posted by paulpeterson on April 27, 2006 at 10:21:16 PT
FoM & Hope
The AP answered the question: The feds have to decide whether or not to seek a new trial, to ask for a reconsideration, or to drop the matter because too much publicity makes a retrial unwinnable for them at this time.In answer to the question as to how close we are to the deathknell of federal vicious prosecution of medical marijuana dispensers in California, this case will be a seminal point-if the feds back off on Ed's prosecution, the prohibition mentality will persist. If they are stupid enough to seek a retrial, in my opinion, this will quicken the demise of their position.My guess is that they will avoid prosecution of him, and seek to schmush the matter under the carpet, with some "quiet" agreement calling for Ed to forego any lawsuit for malicious prosecution. Ed will seek publicity from any attempt on the fed's part to schmush the case. Finally, the feds will just go away and threaten to prosecute him if he files a civil action.We may have to wait 6 months for any further action here. If the Illinois & Minneasota MM votes go our way, the feds may just drop the whole prohibition mentality and back off. On the other hand, if the FDA's denial report causes those two seminal heartland states to lose the MM battle, the feds may feel emboldened and push back, taking solice from a few counties in California that want to push the MM battle back into the California legislature.I am, of course, heartened by the positive press that has been generated all over the nation about the 99 IOM report which rebuts that FDA denial bit. The more people that learn about the IOM report, the further public opinion may sway towards allowing people to use this remarkable medical modality.Any time I speak with police officers, once they see that I believe so strongly in the truth, they start to question the standard old line about how marijuana is just bad, with no positive qualities.The best thing that could have happened is that loss of student loan funds for a drug conviction. Once police start to question the propriety of taking away someone's future merely for a little green, they start to think-then they can start to distinguish between those white "powders" and God's own green mystery.Thanks again for being such a good clearing-house for nationwide publication of cannabis related press. Knowledge is a powerful tool for us. Keep the faith. Checking out now. PAUL PETERSON
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Comment #26 posted by Dankhank on April 26, 2006 at 17:23:48 PT
Oil ...
Mexico has an oil industry, but the masses see none ...http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/fields/2178.html
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Comment #25 posted by global_warming on April 26, 2006 at 16:53:43 PT
correction
the middle east is fat with oil,mexico is filled with poverty,you can guess who has to 'pay,the son of man.
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Comment #24 posted by global_warming on April 26, 2006 at 16:38:34 PT
in the meantime
it must be pretty fucked up in mexico,much like the middle east,but here in river city,all is well,we got more prisons,than you can shake a taxpayers stick at,
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Comment #23 posted by global_warming on April 26, 2006 at 16:16:53 PT
can this happen?
will I see in my lifetime, the lifting of this prohibition?Cannabis is better than Vioxx, Cannabis is better than Vodka, Cannabis Users are better people, than some drunken fool..
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Comment #22 posted by global_warming on April 26, 2006 at 15:46:27 PT
its funny
a co-worker answered me today in a different way, my question has always been, will I see in my lifetime, the lifting of this prohibition?he used to say, it would never happen, there is too much power vested in this drug war and all the money that is made,,today he said, that it would either be a protracted battle or it would come very quickly,what amazes me in his answer was that he used to say never, and now he see's the soldiers in the battle fields, he even considers a complete reversal from the government, imagine opening up the newspaper and reading, the drug war is over..
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on April 26, 2006 at 14:54:07 PT
A Portion of the Lyrics
Letís impeach the president for spyingOn citizens inside their own homesBreaking every law in the countryBy tapping our computers and telephones
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on April 26, 2006 at 14:52:13 PT
Whig
I can't wait. I am like so many Neil fans. I have friends on a board and the anticipation is almost a little overwhelming. 
Neil Young: Living With War
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Comment #19 posted by whig on April 26, 2006 at 14:48:22 PT
FoM
T-minus 2 days until release! :)
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Comment #18 posted by global_warming on April 26, 2006 at 14:41:18 PT
re:rabid
"True, it will be harder to find jurors that are unaware of the medical nature of his mission-but these federal guys are in the death knell of prohibition and they will be getting more vicious the closer it comes to the end..I met Ed once in Chicago and he is a gentle man. I just hope he lives through this violent convulsion of change without some rabid DEA agent thinking he must take the law into his own hands."It's this disease called "prohibition", not reefer madness, but prohibition madness, 'we can only hope and watch these diseased human beings, as they are stripped of the last vestiges of this madness and hippocracy, and I say good riddance and it is not happening soon enough.
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on April 26, 2006 at 14:37:21 PT
Off Topic
Fox seems to have gotten an early break on the lyrics for Impeach The President. They are powerful lyrics and I thought others might want to read them too.http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,193259,00.html
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on April 26, 2006 at 14:27:28 PT
AP: Court Overturns Pot Grower's Conviction 
By David Kravets, The Associated Press April 26, 2006A federal appeals court Wednesday overturned the marijuana-growing conviction of the self-proclaimed "Guru of Ganja" who has written books on how to grow pot and avoid getting caught.The court cited jury misconduct in overturning Ed Rosenthal's conviction, but it otherwise upheld federal powers to charge marijuana growers.Rosenthal was convicted more than two years ago for cultivating hundreds of marijuana plants for a city of Oakland medical marijuana program. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer sentenced him to one day in prison, saying Rosenthal reasonably believed he was immune from prosecution because he was acting on behalf of city officials.The government sought a two-year prison term and appealed. Rosenthal cross-appealed.The case drew national attention, in part, because of Rosenthal's status as a leading author and proponent of marijuana. It also underscored the federal government's position that medical marijuana is illegal, it has no medical value, and the will of California voters has no affect on federal drug laws.A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based appeals court, in overturning the verdict, said a juror had had inappropriate communication with an attorney."Juror A" had asked the attorney during trial whether she had to follow the law or could vote her conscience because she suspected Rosenthal was growing marijuana for medicinal uses. The attorney told her she must follow the judge's instructions to follow federal law or she would get in "trouble.""We hold that here the communication was an improper influence upon Juror A's decision to acquit or convict," the appeals court wrote.While the case was on appeal, and despite Rosenthal's claims, the Supreme Court ruled again that the federal government can prosecute medical marijuana growers and users despite California's medical marijuana law.Rosenthal once wrote the "Ask Ed" column for High Times magazine and has written books with titles including "The Big Book of Buds" and "Ask Ed: Marijuana Law. Don't Get Busted."U.S. attorney's spokesman Luke Macaulay said the office was considering whether to appeal, ask the court to reconsider, or going ahead with a new trial.Neither Rosenthal nor his attorney were immediately available for comment.Copyright: 2006 Associated Press
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on April 26, 2006 at 14:15:10 PT
Paul
Still is going to be prosecuted? Where? I'm having trouble finding that or understanding that.
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on April 26, 2006 at 13:37:00 PT
What?
"Ed will have to run the gauntlet again,"I skimmed it and I somehow missed that!
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on April 26, 2006 at 13:33:29 PT
Paul
I'm not good at figuring out what this means. I just hope it is good news.
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Comment #12 posted by paulpeterson on April 26, 2006 at 13:26:11 PT
FoM
This is bittersweet news: The panel has ordered a new trial, meaning that Ed will have to run the gauntlet again, probably with more vicious prosecution, now that the FDA will be quoted as disregarding and poo-pooing the 1999 Institute of Medicine report.True, it will be harder to find jurors that are unaware of the medical nature of his mission-but these federal guys are in the death knell of prohibition and they will be getting more vicious the closer it comes to the end.I met Ed once in Chicago and he is a gentle man. I just hope he lives through this violent convulsion of change without some rabid DEA agent thinking he must take the law into his own hands. At least the press all over the land is taking on the FDA on their faux pax about the 99 IOM.The IOM report is getting more press right now, today, than it has gotten over the 8 years since it was issued! Hopefully more and more people are getting the drift that they have been hoodwinked since before the Bushites took power. And with more and more press on that 911 "Thermite" bust thingy, with Bush being called for impeachment and foreign dignitaries crying foul and three states calling for impeachment something will happen good out of all this.But when vicious dogs are cornered by truth, watch out! Over and out from behind enemy lines in rural Iowa. PAUL PETERSON
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on April 26, 2006 at 12:54:41 PT
A message to "Dope Farmers"...
http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v06/n518/a08.html?397
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on April 26, 2006 at 12:52:06 PT
They're coming after the lists they demanded made
http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v06/n520/a03.html?397How positively Nazi is that?
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on April 26, 2006 at 12:02:21 PT
Scared me....
I'm one of those "weak minded" folk. I'm calling my Daddy. He's bigger than anything.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on April 26, 2006 at 12:00:59 PT
Fish...Beef...Birds...Wildlife...
Potential killers and poisons and infecters lurk and slink and blow and rub off all around us!Lord have Mercy!This is a dangerous world.Have mercy on our children and theirs as well...unto every generation.I pray.Amen and Amen?*(Rigorous, breath expelling *shudder*)*
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on April 26, 2006 at 11:56:27 PT
Conspiracy theory?
Hmmmm. Could be that lunatic doctor's work we read about a week or so ago. Is there a plan by some sort of elite to kill as many of us as possible?
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on April 26, 2006 at 11:54:12 PT
IF.....
There had been six more agents guarding this building and six less looking for future Eds out there or locking up and persecuting and abusing Jerrys and Lindas and busy teaching everybody "Lessons"and sending everyone "Messages".......... http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/104-04252006-646909.html
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on April 26, 2006 at 11:36:28 PT
Related Article from Reuters
Conviction of "Ganja Guru" OverturnedApril 26, 2006 SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Wednesday overturned the conviction of "ganja guru" Ed Rosenthal and ordered a new trial, saying a juror had tainted the case by seeking the advice of a lawyer before the verdict.Rosenthal, the author of many books on marijuana, was sentenced in 2003 to a single day in prison -- the minimum possible in the case -- after a jury found him guilty of growing the plant in violation of federal law.Rosenthal appealed the felony conviction on several grounds, including that the district court had acted improperly by not ordering a retrial after one of the jurors asked an attorney friend about the case.It was on that point that Rosenthal won the backing of a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals."The district court, upon conducting a hearing into the matter, concluded that Rosenthal failed to demonstrate prejudice and denied the motion for a new trial," Judge Betty Fletcher wrote for the panel."We find that the district court applied an overly burdensome standard of proof and that, under the appropriate standard of review, prejudice is evident."Prosecutors had sought a 6-1/2 year sentence in a case that attracted wide publicity in the San Francisco area where many people believe that marijuana should be allowed for medicinal purposes.Medical marijuana is voter-approved in California but barred by federal law.The judge who sentenced Rosenthal said the one-day prison term was appropriate because the pot advocate believed its cultivation for medical purposes was allowed under state law.Copyright: Reuters 2006 
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Comment #4 posted by whig on April 26, 2006 at 11:12:21 PT
Just one day
But shouldn't he be compensated for his imprisonment?
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on April 26, 2006 at 11:07:04 PT
Overturned the convicition.
That's good.They can't take away that Ed and his family were dragged to hell and back again for no good reason.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 26, 2006 at 11:01:07 PT

Press Release from The Drug Policy Alliance
Oppose Merced County's Plan to Outlaw Medical MarijuanaTuesday, April 26, 2006Our friends at Safe Access Now have alerted us to some troubling news. The Merced County Board of Supervisors has directed its staff to join with San Diego and San Bernardino in their lawsuits against the state which seek to overturn our decade-old medical marijuana law, Prop 215.There is still time to get the board to reverse this decision if all patients and advocates in Merced County contact their supervisors today. Please take a few minutes to find your county supervisor (below) and email and/or call him or her urging them not to join San Diego's lawsuit and to instead implement the medical marijuana ID card program. Please keep your messages brief and polite. Feel free to use the talking points listed at the bottom of this message. 
URL: http://www.drugpolicy.org/news/merced042606.cfm
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 26, 2006 at 10:41:17 PT

Good News
I needed some good news today. I am happy for Ed.
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