Charles Lynch, the owner of a medical marijuana dispensary in Morro Bay, California that was fully compliant with state laws, has been found guilty in federal court of pushing drugs. The grim details, courtesy of The Los Angeles Times:
The owner of a Morro Bay marijuana dispensary was found guilty today in federal court of five counts of distributing drugs.
Charles Lynch, the owner of the dispensary, faces a minimum of five years in prison.
His closely watched trial involved conflicting marijuana laws and went to a federal court jury Monday. Jurors were asked to determine if Lynch was guilty of violating federal drug laws.
During a week-and-a-half-long trial in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, federal prosecutors sought to depict Lynch as a common drug dealer who sold pot to teenagers and carried a backpack stuffed with cash.
Lynch was charged with distributing marijuana, conspiring to distribute marijuana and providing marijuana to people under the age of 21.
Lynch is one of the countless casualties of an idiotic and tragically long-running war on drugs. His shop scrupulously followed Golden State laws and when he opened his shop in Morro Bay, local officials attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony. And that kid he provided medical marijuana to? A high school athlete who had lost a leg to cancer and had a prescription from a Stanford-trained doctor (and in any case, Lynch only dealt with the boy's parents). Yes, a common drug dealer.
There's only one good possibility to come out of this verdict: That its manifest injustice and stupidity and inhumanity (to Lynch and his customers) will help spark a long overdue reaction to the drug war and its punishing toll on individuals and basic Constitutional rights.
reason has been covering this story closely. Its import goes beyond drug policy to questions about federalism and whether or not states can truly be laboratories of experimentation and it compounds the awful logic of the Supreme Court's dreadful ruling in Gonzales v. Raich (2005) which invoked the commerce clause in deciding that federal laws overrode state laws when it came to medical marijuana.
Click below to watch the Drew Carey Project documentary "Raiding California" that tells the truth about Charlie Lynch.
Drew Carey defends medical marijuana here: