Charlie Lynch is the medical marijuana dispensary owner whose business, fully legal under California state law, was raided by federal agents in 2007. Lynch was charged with five counts of violating federal drug laws. He faced as many as 100 years in prison, but on his June 11, 2009 sentencing date many expected the mandatory-minimum five-year sentence.
Although the fact that Lynch was prosecuted at all is an affront to anyone who believes in the 10th Amendment or the efficacy of medical marijuana, Lynch and his attorneys were relieved with the 366-day sentence delivered by U.S. District Court Judge George Wu. Lynch is free pending appeal, and his attorneys are hopeful he can avoid prison entirely. If he is imprisoned, the actual time he would spend behind bars would likely be about four months.
Defense attorney Reuven Cohen expects that his client will be among the last dispensary owners prosecuted in our nation's failed war on drugs. "I really think," says Cohen, "you're looking at, if not the last, then the penultimate or third to last medical marijuana dispensary prosecution in the United States....This is an injustice, and I think everyone has gotten the message."
This video update is approximately three minutes. Produced by Ted Balaker; shot by Alex Manning and Paul Detrick.
For audio podcast, iPod and HD versions, and related links, go here now.
The reason.tv documentary short, "Raiding California," which brought the Lynch case to a national audience, is here.
Reason's coverage of the Lynch saga is here.
Update: Reason's Jacob Sullum asks "Why Not Two Days Instead of 366?"