Re-Trial of `Ganja Guru' Begins 

Re-Trial of `Ganja Guru' Begins 
Posted by CN Staff on May 15, 2007 at 17:42:06 PT
By Josh Richman, Staff Writer
Source: Oakland Tribune
San Francisco, CA -- Ed Rosenthal grew and sold thousands of marijuana plants in Oakland over five and a half years in violation of federal law, a prosecutor told jurors today as the "Guru of Ganja's" retrial began.Assistant U.S. Attorney George Bevan even specified that the marijuana was supplied to "so-called marijuana clubs throughout the Bay Area" -- a reference to medical marijuana organizations where patients obtained the drug for use as permitted under state law, but unprotected under federal law.
What the jury wasn't told is that this retrial -- lasting three to four weeks, with dozens of witnesses' testimony and reams of evidence -- is in some ways a formality.For, even if Rosenthal is convicted of all five counts of which he's accused two conspiracy counts; two counts of using a specific place to grow marijuana; and one count of manufacturing, possessing with intent to distribute, and distributing marijuana -- he'll not be sentenced to anything more than the one day of jail he already served after his original, 2003 convictions, later overturned by an appeals court.Instead, the government apparently hopes only to leave Rosenthal with a felony record -- which would stiffen future penalties should he ever be charged again -- and to chalk up a win after five years of pursuing the case.Bevan told jurors -- eight women and four men, plus two female alternates -- they'll see evidence that about 3,100 plants were seized from Rosenthal's Mandela Parkway building in February 2002, as well as about 2,600 "clone" clippings; about 700 more plants were seized from the Harm Reduction Center on San Francisco's Sixth Street, which Rosenthal supplied and later allegedly helped with its own growing operation.Shari Lynn Greenberger, one of Rosenthal's attorneys, began by telling jurors "the reason why we are here today is because this is an attempt by the federal government to censor Mr. Rosenthal;" Bevan objected, and U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer sustained the objection.Greenberger said Rosenthal is "a scientist" who "has earned a reputation of international prominence;" again Bevan objected, and Breyer told jurors they can't consider what motivated the government to bring charges, only whether the government can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that crimes were committed.Greenberger then set about discrediting Bevan's witnesses as "convicted felons, liars, drug addicts and thieves" with whom the government cut sweet immunity or leniency deals in exchange for testimony.For example, she said, James Halloran -- with whom Rosenthal ran the Oakland growing operation for some time -- is a convicted felon and recovering heroin addict who had $50,000 in cash, a .22-caliber pistol, a shotgun and more than 4,000 marijuana plants in his possession when raided by federal agents in 2002. He faced 50 years to life behind bars, but in return for his testimony served only home detention with electronic monitoring, she said, adding Bevan even helped him get a real-estate license and end his federal probation early.Bevan objected, saying this was a misstatement of the facts; Breyer said jurors will hear the facts during the trial and decide for themselves.Greenberger said the witness Bob Martin's testimony will demonstrate "the outrageousness and hypocrisy of the federal government." This drew a rebuke from Breyer, who deemed it improper argument. Continuing, she said Martin continued operating two medical-marijuana clubs -- neither of which have been raided -- while preparing to testify in this case, and was granted immunity from prosecution for thousands of marijuana plants seized in 2004 from his Sonoma County property.Rosenthal, on the other hand, has "devoted his career to marijuana advocacy and reform," writing books and serving as an expert witness in court, she said: "As you can imagine, his testimony for the defense on medical cannabis did not endear him to the federal government."And neither he nor his wife and publisher, Jane Klein, have criminal records, she added.Famed for his marijuana-cultivation books and the "Ask Ed" column he wrote for High Times magazine, Rosenthal was convicted in 2003 of three marijuana-growing felonies. Medical marijuana use on a doctor's recommendation is legal under state law but prohibited by federal law, so Rosenthal was barred from mounting a medical defense at trial. Breyer sentenced him to one day behind bars -- time he'd already served.The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned his convictions in April 2006, finding juror misconduct compromised Rosenthal's right to a fair verdict and so warranted a new trial. But the court also rejected Rosenthal's claim of immunity from prosecution as an officer of Oakland who grew the drug under the city's medical marijuana ordinance.Prosecutors re-indicted Rosenthal in October, adding charges that he'd laundered marijuana proceeds by buying four money orders totaling $1,854, and that he'd falsified tax returns for 1999, 2000 and 2001 by omitting income from his marijuana distribution. But Breyer in March tossed out those new charges, deeming them to be vindictive prosecution.Source: Oakland Tribune, The (CA)Author: Josh Richman, Staff WriterPublished: May 15, 2007Copyright: 2007 MediaNews Group, Inc. Contact: triblet angnewspapers.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Ed Rosenthal's Pictures & Articles for Medical-Pot Advocate Opens Rosenthal: Opening Statements Set for Today
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Comment #8 posted by kaptinemo on May 16, 2007 at 14:40:22 PT:
A very telling point -and the core of the problem
"Greenberger said Rosenthal is "a scientist" who "has earned a reputation of international prominence;" again Bevan objected, and Breyer told jurors they can't consider what motivated the government to bring charges, only whether the government can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that crimes were committed. (Emphasis mine - k.)There's only one possible reason why Judge Breyer said this: he all but admitted trembling in his robes in fear of jury nullification. Given the amount of publicity that this case has garnered over 5 years, the prospect of the jury not having heard at least one mention of Mr. Rosenthal's protected status as an employee of his city hired to grow medicinal cannabis approaches zero. That also implies at least one jury member is aware of jury nullification, as the Med-cann community and allies have been mentioning the subject for as long as the Feds have been trying to railroad Rosenthal. It's become quite evident now that this is what it has always been: a vendetta. A witch-hunt. A pogrom against anyone daring to rub the Fed's lies in their faces and call them out on it. You would have to be living further underground than a rock not to be aware of that aspect. This is a skirmish in the culture war, and nothing but. The Feds lost big last time, but stupidly, with the kind of blind tenacity that should be reserved for actual criminals (where is Osama, after all?), they are bound and determined to have their pound of flesh. That it almost certainly will be poisonous to their cause is evidently not a concern. But then, reason has never been the underpinning of DrugWarrior efforts...only hatred.
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Comment #7 posted by Dan B on May 16, 2007 at 13:53:35 PT
Zero Tolerance
This link is going to seem like a major tangent, but I thought it appropriate because of the things he says about zero tolerance--particularly with regard to drug policy--about halfway through. It's nice to see that someone in the mainstream media seems to "get it."!Dan B
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Comment #6 posted by potpal on May 16, 2007 at 10:28:16 PT
down under
Seriously, who needs to travel to Canada to learn how to grow the fragrant cane? Google it.,GGLR:2006-11,GGLR:en&q=growing+marijuana ...learn how to cultivate the highly addictive(NOT) cannabis...
Plant seed, water, place in sun. 
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Comment #5 posted by fight_4_freedom on May 16, 2007 at 10:17:45 PT:
heres an article I just found
it's a few days old, so I looked and didn't see it posted here. But if it already is, I'm sorry.Like, Wow, Man! Marijuana Toker Gets Her Stash Back from the LawPaul Harasim, Review-Journal
May 10, 2007
Las Vegas Review-JournalOn her way Wednesday to pick up her 7-year-old son from school, Tonya Snider stopped at the Henderson Police Department to score some dope."You want what?" asked one bewildered and fidgeting staffer at the information desk, staring at a ruling by Municipal Court Judge William Brown ordering police to hand over Snider's marijuana and pipe.Snider whispered: "This just blows me away. They can't believe it, and I can't believe it. I'm going to get my marijuana back from the police. Like, wow."Like, wow, indeed.When Snider and her attorney first asked Henderson's finest and their administrative staff to give her back the weed she'd grown, you'd almost expect that the crime fighters, who appeared to have copped a high energy buzz from Snider's request, would dial 911."This is a first for us," Detective David Barnes said before he stuffed Snider's stash in a paper bag. "It's different."But lest you think the Henderson Police Department is dealing dope, know that Snider is a medical marijuana patient who challenged the case in court, saying her stash was wrongly seized in February.Snider, whose muscle spasms cause her to toke about four times a day, had her less-than-1-ounce pot possession case dismissed Wednesday. Under state law, when it is determined that seized marijuana and drug paraphernalia have been used in accordance with the state's Medical Use of Marijuana Act, "the law enforcement agency shall immediately return" them to the rightful owner."I think this may be the first time this has happened in Nevada," said Snider's attorney, Ryan Mortier. "I've worked out plea deals with prosecutors for maybe a dozen clients in the past but never asked that the marijuana be returned. I was always afraid that the prosecutor may play hardball and we'd end up going to trial. But now I'm confident in the law. It is clear."Jennifer Bartlett, program officer for the state's medical marijuana program, said no data is kept on law enforcement agencies returning marijuana, but she said she has never heard of any confiscated herb being released from police impound.More than 700 people, she said, have been issued registration cards to use marijuana. Before such a card can be issued, a doctor must find that an individual has a condition -- such as AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, muscle spasms, severe pain or seizures -- that can be ameliorated by the use of marijuana.Criminal background checks are done on applicants. Successful applicants grow their own marijuana.Snider said she began to use marijuana about four years ago after she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain in muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as fatigue and multiple tender points."Sometimes just a little pressure on my body causes indescribable pain," said Snider, the mother of three. "The marijuana and pain medicine allow me to function."Snider realizes she largely created her own problems with law enforcement in February."I made mistakes," she said.On Feb. 19, shortly before 1 a.m., according to police reports, officers found the marijuana and pipe in Snider's parked Chevrolet Suburban in Equestrian Park. The park had been closed nearly two hours.Snider said she was simply talking with her boyfriend and had not smoked any of the marijuana in the park when four police cars drove up.Her registration card for the drug had expired, and the new one she had sent away for had yet to arrive in the mail. She also had a straw with crystal methamphetamine residue in the car.Charges filed against her included illegal marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. She spent a day in jail before making bail.During a plea arrangement Mortier worked out Wednesday with Henderson deputy city attorney Lin T. Ng, the marijuana charges were dismissed. Snider received a 30-day suspended sentence on the methamphetamine paraphernalia charge. If she stays out of trouble for a year, she won't have to serve the jail time.She also pleaded no contest to a trespassing charge for being in the park after hours, receiving credit for time served.In court, Ng recited the terms of the plea agreement. She declined to comment on the case afterward, but Mortier praised her for following the law."I'll never do meth again," Snider said. "I've seen what it did to my brother. I just used it a few times. But I am going to do a good bowl of marijuana tonight. I've got my stuff back. I just wish I knew how to grow stronger stuff."
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Comment #4 posted by museman on May 16, 2007 at 08:44:16 PT
crimes and criminals
"Breyer told jurors they can't consider what motivated the government to bring charges, only whether the government can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that crimes were committed."The State is a monster that is out of control. It (the State) is actually directly responsible for millions of deaths, maimings, and destroyed lives, and not only continues unabated, but plans more and more destruction. While the fed is harrassing Ed, and violating every common understanding of actual justice, their CIA robots are recruiting fake alquieda agents from poor Arab families to arrange the next wag-the-dog scenario -of nuclear proportion.If anyone thinks that this government is anything other than corrupt, a liars club, and a bunch of underservingly rich dastards with very little claim to their own humanity, please wake up and smell the excrement that is being ladled out from the toilet of America -politics.This is not 'law', and it is so far from justice as to render the word meaningless. 'law'yers are at their best when serving the rich corporate interests that choose (You think WE elect them? Hah!) the politicians to represent THEM. They pay them well.Ed is a symbol of freedom, and of the ideals and dreams of an entire generation. It is not Ed they are after, but all of us. It's an old Roman tactic. They think that if they keep killing, imprisoning, and discrediting people who stand for freedom, then we will all give up and 'go back to work' (not that most of us aren't already condemned to that).We must have really scared the bejesus out of them in the '60's, because they are attempting to throw out everything good that we ever did, discredit our most enlightened discoveries, and crimnalize every one who isn't 
'with the program.'Well 'ol Jerry Falwell has gone to his just reward, we can only hope that his fellow demons follow him real soon. And if we manage to remove Bush, or survive until the next election without him declaring martial law or something, because his boys nuke american cities in the name of the jihad, then the job of cleaning American politics has just begun. If everyone celebrates as if there was some kind of victory, oh woe is us.
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Comment #3 posted by afterburner on May 16, 2007 at 06:51:14 PT
OT: Scare Story from Down Under
Australia: Asian Gangs Develop Highly Potent Cannabis Strain
(Mon, 14 May 2007),
Advertiser, The (Australia)
 "POLICE fear......highly addictive cannabis."
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Comment #2 posted by nuevo mexican on May 15, 2007 at 23:14:07 PT
For Mayan: Ron Paul wins again!
Was he great or what!(and the audience applauded Mitt Romney and his 'double-git mo', sick people these Repugs, very Nazi-like, I suggest the Dems run an ad with that scene over and over, and bring up the question in the next debate, stating NO WAY is Torture right, clearly, unequivocally and Loudly! Results of debate poll: the fun begin! Vote: era the Jerry Falwell began ended today!Ahhhhhh.....he will not be missed, and has made the lives of gay men and women, people of color, and the counter-culture the enemy for the Nixon era up thru the present.It looks like the Dems are ready to impeach, rushing to line up the criminal case against bush, cheney, rove and gonzo!
According to a D.C. reporter who called into AirAmerica today. Can you feel the momentum building with Waxman, Leahy and Conyers hot on their poorly covered trail of death,threats,  blackmail, destruction of the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, Congress even, and yet, I am sure we will triumph!Happy days are almost here again FOM!Now for Ron Paul to make Dennis the K and Mike Gravel look mainstream, how beautiful is that! Next thing, Al Gore will announce and ask Ron Paul to be his running mate, (talk of a Independent psuedo third party Bloomberg/Thompson ticket/ala Ross Perot/92' is the Repug 'alternative, we'll see.) Anything can happen, and will.With todays' revelations about bush and the NSA wiretapping orders and our old friend John Ashcroft, (who looks like a good guy compared to bushie and Alberto Gonzo, imagine how bad they must be).As these guys paint themselves into a corner, the war on Cannabis will be exposed as the gravy train it is for graft, corruption, greed, torture, false incarceration, rape, and a list that goes on and on, easily remedied by a giant class action lawsuit coming soon, it's the only way to stop the madness. 
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Comment #1 posted by mayan on May 15, 2007 at 18:25:52 PT
It seems that we are being conditioned to expect a cataclysmic event that will dwarf 9/11. We are also being told who will be behind it...FBI's Mueller: Bin Laden Wants to Strike U.S. Cities With Nuclear Weapons: Considering that bin Laden is very likely dead, then who will actually be doing the nuking? All of our lives are at risk.Osama bin Laden: A dead nemesis perpetuated by the US government: bin Laden gets a nose job: WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Historic Result from San Diego Citizens Grand Jury: 9/11 Truthers To Appear On The View: Truth Activist Gets Death Threats: Silverstein Family Were All "Running Late" On 9/11: Truth - Electric Politics: WAS AN INSIDE JOB - OUR NATION IS IN PERIL:
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