Medical Marijuana Provider to Be Federally Sentenced in Los Angeles 3/23

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

ASA Media Liaison Kris Hermes 510-681-6361

Medical Marijuana Provider to Be Federally Sentenced in Los Angeles 3/23

Charles Lynch, victim of outdated federal policy, seeks time-served sentence

LOS ANGELES - Morro Bay medical marijuana provider, Charles
Lynch, 46, who operated a city and state-sanctioned dispensary for
qualified patients and their
primary caregivers will be sentenced in federal court Monday, March
23rd. Lynch was convicted in August of 2008, without the benefit of a
medical marijuana defense, becoming a cause celebre as he stands
between the aggressive enforcement actions of the Bush Administration
and the change in federal policy that the Obama Administration has
repeatedly promised. Lynch has appeared recently on 20/20, on MSNBC,
and is the focus of a Reason TV documentary with Drew Carey.

What: Federal sentencing of medical marijuana
provider Charles Lynch

When:
Monday, March 23, 2009 at 8:30am

Where: Los Angeles Federal Court, 312 N. Spring Street,
Courtroom 10

"Charles Lynch is a victim of an outdated federal approach to medical
marijuana, which has changed under the Obama Administration," said Joe
Elford, Chief Counsel with advocates
Americans for Safe Access. "If President Obama is prepared to end
federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries, then Lynch certainly
deserves a sentence of no more than time served." When indicted in July
of 2007, Lynch served four days in federal custody and was released on
$400,000 bail. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws indicate that Lynch
may serve at least 6 years and could serve as much as 20 years in
federal prison.

Before his medical marijuana dispensary was raided by Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) agents in March of 2007, Lynch had operated for 11
months without incident, and with the
blessing of the Morro Bay City Council, the local Chamber of Commerce,
and other community members. Lynch reopened his dispensary Central
Coast Compassionate Caregivers, but then closed it after being
threatened by the DEA with forfeiture of his property. Two months after
the closure of his dispensary, Lynch was indicted and charged with
conspiracy to possess and possession with intent to
distribute marijuana and concentrated cannabis, manufacturing
(cultivating) more than 100 plants, knowingly maintaining a drug
premises, and sales of marijuana to a person under the age of 21.

During his trial, Lynch was prevented from calling to the stand one of
his patients in order to refute his charge of selling marijuana to
someone under
21. Owen Beck, who was a 17-year old
bone cancer survivor at the time of Lynch's indictment, obtained
medical marijuana from Lynch accompanied by his parents, a requirement
of the Morro Bay business
regulations. However, because of the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision
in Gonzales v. Raich, federal medical marijuana defendants are
prohibited from entering evidence related to medical marijuana or their
compliance with local and state laws.

Since the Raich decision, more than a half-dozen federal
defendants have been found guilty at trial and sentenced up to 20 years
in prison, despite being in compliance with local and state laws. More
than
two-dozen federal medical marijuana cases are currently being
prosecuted. "It's time for the Obama Administration to act on its
commitment to change federal medical marijuana policy," continued
Elford. "Pending federal cases should be moved to state court where all
of the evidence can be heard."

Interviews with Charles Lynch and his attorneys will follow the
sentencing hearing at U.S. District Court, 312 North Spring Street,
Courtroom
10, Los Angeles.

For further information:

Charles C. Lynch interview with John Stossel:
http://www.friendsofccl.com/johnstossel.htm

Drew Carey/Reason TV documentary on Lynch:
http://reason.tv/video/show/413.html
Picture of Lynch at Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony for his
dispensary: http://safeaccessnow.org/img/original/Lynch_Photo.jpg

Friends of Charles C. Lynch website: http://www.friendsofccl.com

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Americans for Safe Access is the nation's largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.

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