A federal judge threw out criminal charges today against an Oakland man accused of growing medical marijuana, ruling that authorities had vindictively prosecuted him because of remarks he made after he successfully appealed an earlier conviction.
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco dismissed charges of tax evasion and money laundering against Ed Rosenthal, an author and activist who has been dubbed the “Guru of Ganja.”
Breyer declared that the government had improperly refiled the tax-evasion and money-laundering case last fall after Rosenthal successfully appealed his 2003 conviction for marijuana cultivation.
“The reasonable observer will interpret the government’s conduct as demonstrating that if defendants successfully appeal, the government will ensure that they face more severe charges and more prison time the next time around,” Breyer said.
“The government’s deeds — and words — create the perception that it added the new charges to make Rosenthal look like a common criminal and thus dissipate the criticism heaped on the government after the first trial,” Breyer said.
This is great news and full vindication.
“bullet” Then the bad: Via The Drug Law Blog
A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that a California woman whose doctor says marijuana is the only medicine keeping her alive is not immune from federal prosecution on drug charges.
This one isn’t a big surprise to me. Once the Supreme Court ruled against Raich in the main case, I held out little hope for the follow-up case. As Alex says, we need to turn to Congress to pass the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment this year.
Raich, 41, began sobbing when she was told of the decision and said she would continue using the drug.
“I’m sure not going to let them kill me,” she said. “Oh my God.”