As many of you probably know, I’m a strong supporter of all drug legalization on both ethical and practical grounds. However, here’s a story that should tug at the heart strings of even those who are staunchly in favour of prohibition.
Charles C. Lynch is the former owner and managing Caregiver for Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers in Morro Bay. The dispensary opened on April 1 2006 with the blessing of the city and even joined the Chamber of Commerce. In July 2006 the dispensary was granted a Conditional Use Permit from the City of Morro Bay to include a Medical Cannabis Nursery at the dispensary.
On March 29, 2007 the Local Sheriff and DEA agents raided the Dispensary and Home of Charles Lynch. Lynch was not arrested at the time and reopened the dispensary on April 7 2007 with the blessing of the City of Morro Bay.
On July 17, 2007 Lynch was arrested at his home and charged with Federal Marijuana Distribution. On August 5, 2008 Lynch was convicted in Federal Court for operating the Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers.
It’s particularly worrying to note that facts relevent to this trial were barred from the courtroom. For example, Owen Beck a former customer who used marijuana to alleviate his bone cancer pain and nausea caused by chemotherapy, was sent packing by U.S. District Judge George Wu.
Wu decreed there would be no talk of the symptoms marijuana relieves, no references to California’s recognition of marijuana as a medicine, no mention even of the phrase “medical marijuana” in front of the jury.
In short, there would be no explanation of how Lynch came to operate what prosecutors called a “marijuana store” in downtown Morro Bay for a year, openly serving more than 2,000 customers.
For those interested, the Reason foundation and Drew Carey have been involved with drawing attention to this miscarriage of justice.