Judge in Calif. Marijuana Case Weighs Leniency
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Judge in Calif. Marijuana Case Weighs Leniency
Posted by CN Staff on April 24, 2009 at 10:43:50 PT
By Greg Risling, Associated Press Writer
Source: Associated Press
Los Angeles, CA -- A federal judge said he is considering a reduced sentence for a medical marijuana seller whose case has become a rallying point, but is bound by the law to impose at least a one-year term. U.S. District Judge George Wu on Thursday postponed the sentencing of Charles Lynch until June 11, saying he wanted to hear more from both sides. Lynch, 47, was convicted in August of federal marijuana-related offenses. He was not charged with any state crimes.
He is one of the first in the nation to seek leniency from a judge after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced last month that federal agents will now target marijuana distributors only when they violate both federal and state laws. However, Holder didn't say how the new approach would affect pending cases, and federal prosecutors have recommended a five-year prison sentence for Lynch. Cultivating, using and selling medical pot to authorized patients is allowed under California law, and a dozen other states allow medical use of the drug. But federal law outlaws marijuana cultivation, use and sales. In front of a courtroom packed with reporters, attorneys and Lynch supporters, Wu listened for more than two hours before asking lawyers to file further arguments. Wu had already asked prosecutors for written clarification about whether Holder's statements would affect Lynch. In response, H. Marshall Jarrett, director of the Department of Justice's executive office of U.S. attorneys, wrote that Lynch's prosecution was "entirely consistent with department policies as well as public statements made by the attorney general." Lynch ran a marijuana dispensary in the Central Coast town of Morro Bay. But Wu noted that Lynch wasn't being sneaky about what he did, obtaining a business license and allowing frequent inspections. Lynch's attorney, federal public defender Reuven Cohen, said his client believed he was complying with state law. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Kowal responded by saying Lynch knew that his actions were illegal under federal law. Wu might disregard the mandatory minimum five-year sentence for Lynch if defense attorneys can prove their client is eligible under a "safety valve" provision allowing some leniency. "If I could find a way out, I would," said Wu, who added he didn't believe Lynch's case should have a mandatory minimum sentence. But Wu said that even if he found in favor of Lynch, he would be required to sentence him to at least one year for one of the guilty counts—distributing marijuana to a minor. Janice Peters, the mayor of Morro Bay, said Lynch was a good business owner and was welcomed by the community. "This is a victimless crime," Peters said in court. "The only victim here is Charles Lynch, who is caught between two laws."Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Greg Risling, Associated Press WriterPublished:  April 24, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Associated PressRelated Article:Government Considering Medical Marijuana Case Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on April 25, 2009 at 09:07:09 PT
Today is beautiful. We finally don't have to have our wood stove burning. It might hit 90 today. I am following this new flu closely. This flu seems to kill young people not young children or seniors. I bet they shut down the border in the next few days. If they have this flu like I read in New York they will have to start quaranteening the city or at least some of it. I am so glad I don't live in a congested area.
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on April 25, 2009 at 08:37:05 PT
Completely off topic.
I've been hearing a dove really nearby this morning.I just went looking for it. It's sitting at my window, the nearest to my computer, on the air conditioner. It's a sweet and beautiful, but kind of lost looking and sounding thing. I hope it's ok.It was startled at my opening the blinds but didn't fly away at seeing me, and is still cooing, off and on.I've been hearing quite a bit out of the doves lately. Makes me dread dove season even more.
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on April 25, 2009 at 08:27:05 PT
That's the word I was looking for when trying to describe that article. It came across as hard edged truth and unbiased.
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on April 25, 2009 at 08:26:05 PT
Comment 8
That article strikes me as very good reporting of the situation. It has a sense of plain, to the point, hard edged, straight, no slant reporting.No thrills. No frills. Just the facts.
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on April 25, 2009 at 08:16:54 PT
Comment 4 Observer
I agree with you and with Richard Miller.Keeping all their stuff and paying the bills nearly always wins, it seems, over character and ethics.That's the way of humans, it seems. It all goes back to fear.Have you ever noticed that in many situations where great good was done, it's been very much a matter of good, developed, and developing character in a person overcoming fear of one thing or another?
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on April 25, 2009 at 05:00:57 PT
Medical Marijuana Sales Are Not Expected To Sprout
April 24, 2009URL:,0,7839118.story
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Comment #7 posted by AdaptBones on April 24, 2009 at 17:11:38 PT:
Wow, I saw that story on here not too long ago but I didn't put the puzzle together. This is absolutly WONDERFUL news. Let's see the slimy S.O.B.s try to slime their way out of this one. Thank you Joel D. Novak for having the brains AND the nerve to challenge the board and put a win on the board for common sense. And a HUGE thanks to Carl Olsen for not letting this go. Come on then, the board has been set, let's see your next move Washington.
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Comment #6 posted by Garry Minor on April 24, 2009 at 16:28:00 PT:
Carl Olsen is!!!April 24, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECourt orders Pharmacy Board to consider medical marijuanaThe American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, announces today that it has secured a court victory in its quest to have marijuana considered for medical use in the State of Iowa. Polk County District Judge Joel D. Novak ruled that Pharmacy Board had to consider whether marijuana is improperly classified as a schedule I controlled substance under Iowa law and directed the Board to consider only one criteria when it makes its decision.Currently, marijuana can be used legally under medical supervision in at least 13 states for relief of severe nausea, pain spasms, and other debilitating symptoms brought on by such diseases as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS. Proponents of medical marijuana contend that the substance is often much more effective, and has fewer side effects than outrageously priced prescription drugs that attempt to mimic marijuana's known therapeutic effects. In Iowa, however, marijuana has been kept on the list of substances that have "no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States." As such, it is subject to even more control than supposedly "harder" drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and opiates. In the ruling announced today, a Polk County Judge rejected the Iowa Pharmacy Board's position that it could not approve use of marijuana under medical supervision until the ACLU's clients proved that marijuana "lacks a high potential for abuse."Under Iowa's controlled substances law, drugs and other substances are listed on schedules according to their utility in medicine and dangerousness to the public. The Iowa Board of Pharmacy is charged with the responsibility of periodically reviewing the scheduling of substances and with making recommendations for rescheduling to the legislature when a substance no longer meets criteria for listing on its current schedule.The Petitioners in this action, Carl Olsen, George McMahon, Barbara Douglass, and Bryan Scott, petitioned the Pharmacy Board for a recommendation that marijuana be removed from Schedule I because it no longer met the required criteria of having no accepted use in medical treatment in the United States. The fact that marijuana is now legally used for medical purposes in 13 states could not be ignored by the Pharmacy Board, they argued.At its July 29th, 2008 meeting, the Pharmacy Board balked at the suggestion that it should review the status of medical marijuana as required by statute based on its desire to see the federal government take some action first. The Petitioners, some of whom have been waiting for decades to obtain a similar decision at the federal level, pressed their case and the Pharmacy board issued a ruling on October 7th, 2008 requiring the petitioners to prove as an additional criteria that marijuana "lacks a high potential for abuse." It was this ruling that was appealed to the Polk County District Court.Petitioner Carl Olsen is a well known marijuana activist. Petitioners McMahon and Douglass are two of the last three or four persons in the country who are enrolled in the federal "Investigational New Drug (IND) Compassionate Access Program" under which they receive marijuana grown by the federal government to use to alleviate their medical conditions under the supervision of a physician. In 1992 the George H.W. Bush administration closed the program to new patients when it became clear that a large number of AIDS victims were turning to marijuana for relief of their symptoms. Outside of the federal program, marijuana has not been legally used in Iowa for medical purposes since prior to the 1930's when it was recommended by physicians for an number of ailments.The judge in this case was the Hon. Joel D. Novak. The attorneys were Scott Galenbeck from the Iowa Attorney General's office, representing the Board of Pharmacy, and Randall C. Wilson, Legal Director of the ACLU of Iowa Foundation, representing Petitioners, McMahon, Scott and Douglass. Carl Olsen appeared pro se.A copy of the Court's ruling is attached to the electronic of this release.For More Information:
Ben Stone, Executive Director of the ACLU of Iowa: 515 243 3988 ben.stone
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Comment #5 posted by AdaptBones on April 24, 2009 at 13:31:10 PT:
No Brainer
I can not understand how ANYONE at this point can say this plant has no medical value. There have been MANY government studies and independent studies that have been done over the years and they have almost always come back with the same reccomendation: It is useful as a medical drug and the prohibition of the plant causes more problems than the plant does to society as a whole. Why aren't people pushing this more? It does not meet the requirements to remain a schedule 1 drug. Why isn't anyone talking about this?
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Comment #4 posted by observer on April 24, 2009 at 13:29:36 PT
but is bound by the law to impose at least a one-year term.He is not. All the judge has to do is write a short explanation for the "departure" from the minimum sentence. And you know what? Even if the judge could not "depart" from the prosecutor's judgment and sentencing orders, if this or any judge had any backbone, he'd do what the rest of us do when suddenly faced with heretofore unknown "job requirements" that involve doing unethical things. We balk at the illegal orders - then quit if necessary. That's what ethical people do. Mammon-worshiping government toadies, on the other hand, they dither and hem and haw (keeping their sizable paychecks, benefits package and pensions firmly in mind) and decide that going along to get along, that just following orders is the best thing for their career and family's income. So that's what we're seeing a lot of in the US and (soon in Canada, if C-15 passes) - spineless judges who love money far more than they have affection for truth and justice and fairness. Otherwise, they'd quit in loud and noisy protest over presiding over such kangaroo courts and lying show trials. 
Mandatory sentencing eliminates the independent excercise of authority by judges in criminal cases. Nuremberg prosecutors condemned elimination of judges' independence230 and entered mandatory sentencing as part of the evidence of crimes against humanity.231 A judge removed from office by the Nazis recalled that "in important criminal cases," the Nazi district attorney would "inform the presiding judge prior to the trial of the punishment which would be sought and point out that this sentence would be expected of him."232 Procedure is little different in important American drug war cases. Upon conviction, under mandatory sentencing judges must obey the sentencing decision of the prosecutor, who prearranges the sentence by fine tuning the indictment. Nuremberg prosecutors described "prearrangement of sentences between judges and prosecutors" as criminal.233
Richard L Miller, Drug Warriors and their Prey, 1996, pgs.63-64
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Comment #3 posted by dongenero on April 24, 2009 at 13:11:47 PT
Federal Compassionate Use IND
IND as in "investigational new drug". How long have the feds had this medical marijuana program? Since 1978? Hardly new or investigational at this point I gather. Only 6 of these seriously ill people remain living but, they have been going far longer than the govt though they would.This federal Compassionate Use IND program is certainly at odds with federal classification of cannabis as having no medical use. How long can this inconsistency remain of the federal government sending out several pounds of medical marijuana each month, while maintaining it has no medical use? Not to mention the fact that the US federal government now holds patents on medical marijuana. It is pretty ridiculous after 30 years of this to say there is no medical use.
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Comment #2 posted by HempWorld on April 24, 2009 at 12:22:04 PT
Iowa Pharmacy Board must examine whether marijuan
a has an accepted medical use.Yeah, as in the Federal Compassionate Use program, I suggest these morons interview Irv Rosenfeld. This man is a walking miracle and proof positive that cannabis cures cancer! But no, we have establish a new commission and spend more time to 'study.' Duh!
On a mission from God!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 24, 2009 at 12:03:36 PT
AP: Iowa Medical Marijuana News
Board Must Study Whether Marijuana is Accepted Medical Use***By Chase Davis, Register Staff Writer April 24, 2009 Iowa -- A Polk County judge ruled Thursday that the Iowa Pharmacy Board must examine whether marijuana has an accepted medical use, a decision some said could unfreeze debate on the drug’s use for medical purposes in Iowa.The ruling, handed down by Polk County District Judge Joel D. Novak, would not legalize marijuana for medical purposes in the state. Instead, it forces the pharmacy board to consider whether it is properly classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under Iowa law.Four petitioners asked the board to review the drug’s classification last summer. The board ruled in October that the petitioners had to prove that the drug lacked a high potential for abuse before it would be reclassified. The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa appealed the decision."The Pharmacy Board has been saying ' We should wait for the feds to do something', but the law doesn't say to wait," said Randall Wilson, the attorney who argued the case for the ACLU.Marijuana can now be used under medical supervision in at least 13 states to battle nausea, pain and other symptoms brought on by diseases such as cancer and AIDS, according to the ACLU.Copyright: 2009 The Des Moines Register
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