I’m a medical marijuana patient in Los Angeles who suffers from chronic pain due to a work-related repetitive strain injury. This summer I sat through the trial of Charles C. Lynch. Charles Lynch was the owner of a medical marijuana dispensary in California. I learned about Charles Lynch after seeing Drew Carey’s “Raiding California” video (see posted video).
What I witnessed in that federal courtroom changed my life. David Nott, President of Reason Foundation, calls it “a grotesque miscarriage of justice” and he couldn’t be closer to the truth of the matter.In early February, White House Spokesman Nick Shapiro reacted to continued Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raids at medical cannabis collectives in California since Obama took office, saying he expects President Obama to end that policy when a new DEA Administrator is seated.”The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with that in mind,” Shapiro said.The White House statements have yet to help people like Charlie who faces up to 100 years in federal prison:
- Even though he followed all his “Medical Marijuana Dispensary” business license requirements, city regulations, county restrictions, and state laws.
- Even though he called the DEA and asked about opening a medical cannabis dispensary in California and a special agent said “It’s up to the cities and counties to decide how to handle that [medical marijuana dispensary] matter.”
- Even though the Morro Bay Mayor Janice Peters and City Attorney Rob Schultz testified they never received one complaint about Lynch, his employees, patients, or dispensary, and each testified to Lynch’s law-abiding nature.
- Even though the only person accused of wrong-doing on the state level has legally declared Charlie had nothing to do with any alleged state violations.
I rely on medical cannabis dispensers like Charlie for safe access to medical cannabis. If the federal government has its way, I will be forced to buy my cannabis on the black market again. That’s not only degrading, it’s dangerous.
That’s exactly what San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Pat Hedges did to over 2,000 of Charlie’s qualified medical cannabis patients by shutting down the only medical cannabis dispensary in the county. My heart goes out to them. Not all patients can grow their own cannabis. I’m not expected to manufacture my own vicodin. I leave that up to professionals who know what they are doing.
Al Roker interviewed Lynch for a MSNBC show called “An Hour on Marijuana,” scheduled to air early March. In addition, John Stossel from ABC’s 20/20 interviewed Lynch and his Federal Public Defenders for an episode called “Bullsh*t in America” scheduled to air March 13th at 10 p.m. EST.
It’s estimated that the local San Luis Obispo County Sheriff wasted $100,000 of California tax-payer money to investigate, raid, arrest, and testify against Charles C. Lynch even though Lynch has never been charged with a state violation.
Also the DEA has admitted to wasting over $440,000 on medical marijuana raids under the Bush Administration and that figure doesn’t include payroll, equipment, or training cost.
And it is estimated that the prosecution of Charles C. Lynch has cost American taxpayers over one million dollars.
In this economic crisis, you can see how devastating the federal government’s war on medical cannabis is to the lives of Californians and Americans.
Cheryl Aichele is a Senior at UCLA studying English Literature and is a medical marijuana patient and activist who suffers chronic pain from a work-related injury. She is based in Los Angeles. She has written articles in “Treating Yourself” magazine, “Green Kind” magazine, Salem News, Now Public and other publications.