home > archives > U.S. vs. Ed Rosenthal
June 05, 2003
Judge Breyer Sentences Rosenthal To 1 Day In Jail (With Time-Served)


Convicted pot grower Rosenthal is spared jail time -- Medical marijuana backers claim victory

By Bob Egelko for SF Gate.

...U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said the "extraordinary, unique circumstances of this case" justified an exemption from the usual sentencing requirements. He imposed the lightest term possible -- a day in jail, which Rosenthal served after his February 2002 arrest. He also fined Rosenthal $1, 300 and put him on supervised release for three years with orders not to violate any criminal laws and to submit to searches.

The packed courtroom erupted into cheers and shouts when Breyer announced his sentence. Some spectators wept. Moments later, the information reached a crowd of Rosenthal backers in the hallway, prompting another celebration.

"This is Day 1 in the crusade to bring down the marijuana laws, all the marijuana laws," Rosenthal proclaimed after the hearing to about 100 jubilant supporters.

Rosenthal, who had denounced Breyer as biased during the trial, was in no mood to praise him after the sentencing.

"He did me no favors," Rosenthal said. "He made me a felon because he would not allow the jury to hear the whole story. He had an agenda."

Rosenthal plans to appeal his conviction based on Breyer's rulings that kept virtually the entire defense case from the jury -- that Rosenthal was protected by Proposition 215, the 1996 California initiative that allowed seriously ill patients to obtain marijuana with a doctor's recommendation, and that the city of Oakland had designated him as an officer to supply marijuana to a patients.


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/06/05/MN291734.DTL

A federal judge, striking a dramatic blow to the government's campaign against medical marijuana, spared pot advocate Ed Rosenthal from a prison sentence Wednesday for his conviction on cultivation charges, saying Rosenthal believed he was acting legally.

Rosenthal, 58, a prominent author, columnist and authority on marijuana growing, could have received at least five years in prison under federal law for his conviction of growing more than 100 plants for the Harm Reduction Center, a San Francisco dispensary operating under California's medical marijuana law. A federal prosecutor had asked for a 6 1/2-year sentence.

But U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said the "extraordinary, unique circumstances of this case" justified an exemption from the usual sentencing requirements. He imposed the lightest term possible -- a day in jail, which Rosenthal served after his February 2002 arrest. He also fined Rosenthal $1, 300 and put him on supervised release for three years with orders not to violate any criminal laws and to submit to searches.

The packed courtroom erupted into cheers and shouts when Breyer announced his sentence. Some spectators wept. Moments later, the information reached a crowd of Rosenthal backers in the hallway, prompting another celebration.

"This is Day 1 in the crusade to bring down the marijuana laws, all the marijuana laws," Rosenthal proclaimed after the hearing to about 100 jubilant supporters.

Rosenthal, who had denounced Breyer as biased during the trial, was in no mood to praise him after the sentencing.

"He did me no favors," Rosenthal said. "He made me a felon because he would not allow the jury to hear the whole story. He had an agenda."

Rosenthal plans to appeal his conviction based on Breyer's rulings that kept virtually the entire defense case from the jury -- that Rosenthal was protected by Proposition 215, the 1996 California initiative that allowed seriously ill patients to obtain marijuana with a doctor's recommendation, and that the city of Oakland had designated him as an officer to supply marijuana to a patients.

Prosecutors could appeal Breyer's decision to reduce the sentence below the standard federal guidelines. No decision has been made on an appeal, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Jacobs, spokesman for the office.

Meanwhile, advocacy groups declared victory.

'A VERY STRONG MESSAGE'

"Today marks the beginning of the end of the federal war on medical marijuana patients," said Robert Kampia, executive director of the nonprofit Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C.

"It sends a very strong message to the Bush administration that they had better focus their law enforcement resources on serious and violent crime, especially terrorism, and stop arresting patients and caregivers in the nine states that have legalized medical marijuana," said Keith Stroup, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Also celebrating were some of the jurors who disavowed their guilty verdict after learning that Rosenthal's medical marijuana defense had been kept from them during the trial. Seven of the 12 jurors signed a letter urging Breyer not to sentence Rosenthal to prison, and four attended Wednesday's hearing. State Attorney General Bill Lockyer also called for a lenient sentence.

"Today has put my faith back into our judicial system," said juror Pamela Klarkowski, a registered nurse from Petaluma.

The prosecution of a noted activist on his home turf was only one of a series of federal enforcement actions against medical marijuana operations since California voters approved Prop. 215, actions that have drawn increased resistance from local and state officials.

A civil suit initially filed by the Clinton administration resulted in a U. S. Supreme Court ruling that shut down the Oakland marijuana cooperative -- though more than 30 others are still operating in the state -- and both the Clinton and Bush administrations have sought, unsuccessfully so far, to punish doctors who recommend marijuana.

The Bush administration has also raided pot farms and dispensaries and filed numerous criminal charges against medical marijuana growers, winning prison sentences in at least four cases, with a dozen more cases pending, according to advocates.

Rosenthal's case was unique because of his relationship with the city of Oakland. Trying to shield its Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative from the federal crackdown, the City Council declared the organization an official city agency in 1998 and allowed its leaders to designate suppliers -- including Rosenthal - - as city officers.

BLOCKING EVIDENCE

Breyer, saying he was following federal drug laws, ruled before the trial that Rosenthal did not qualify as a narcotics law enforcement officer, which would have immunized him from prosecution. But he cited the same evidence Wednesday in his sentencing decision.

Rosenthal "believed that he was not violating federal law," the judge said. "His belief, while erroneous, was reasonable."

Because his ruling served notice that a local agency can't provide protection from federal charges, Breyer said, leniency for Rosenthal won't encourage lawbreaking by others.

But Rosenthal predicted predicted to reporters that higher courts would find Breyer "dead wrong" on the immunity issue.

E-mail Bob Egelko at begelko@sfchronicle.com.

Posted by Lisa at 08:54 PM
February 08, 2003
Ed Rosenthal MP3s Up From KFOG Interview

We worked out the trouble at the Internet Archive and I'm back up and running.

So here are the MP3's of last week's interview with Ed Rosenthal on KFOG 104.5 FM, San Francisco:

Ed Rosenthal On KFOG (Hi-Res - MP3 - 5 MB)

Ed Rosenthal On KFOG (Lo-Res - MP3 - 3 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 08:41 PM
February 06, 2003
KFOG Interview With Ed Rosenthal - February 5, 2003

I've also got MP3s of this all ready to go, but my archive.org account is hosed for the moment, so I have to wait until it's late enough in the morning for me to give them a call. (Like 9:00 am maybe? :-) Then I'll have that stuff uploaded for you pronto. (Hopefully by noon.) Luckily, I transcribed the whole thing last night already:
All fixed! Here are the MP3s:
Ed Rosenthal On KFOG (Hi-Res - MP3 - 5 MB)

Ed Rosenthal On KFOG (Lo-Res - MP3 - 3 MB)

Here's a transcript:

Dave Mori: It's 7:52 on KFOG. We've got the guy himself, Ed
Rosenthal. Thanks for coming on this morning.

KFOG (Dave Mori and two or three others also asking questions):
Now, Ed, I guess the good news is that the New York Times
yesterday came out with an editorial in support of you, several
supporters came out yesterday to join you in the city. The bad
news is you face a long prison term right now.

Ed: That's right, I'm facing up to 20 years in prison.

KFOG: How do you...I mean...Do you feel you're going to end
up actually having to serve time?

Ed: I don't think I'll serve one day, because I think that I will
be found "not guilty" and that the Medical Marijuana laws will
be coming down. (Lisa's note: not sure if I
missed something in the second half of that last sentence...)

KFOG: What happens now? I mean, aren't you currently found
"guilty?"

Ed: I was found "guilty," but now we're appealing for a new
trial on both legal and factual issues.

KFOG: Let me ask you, going into this, we're you and your side
aware of the fact that the Feds were gonna pull this -- not
allowing the issue of Medical Marijuana to be addressed within
the trial?

Ed: We weren't aware of it, but it wasn't the Feds. It was the
Judge's decision not to allow us to have a defense and we feel
that that was anerror on the Judge's part. We think the Ninth
Circuit will overturn his decisions.

KFOG: Who is this Judge? What's his track record like?

Ed: He is an unusual Judge the way he handles the courtroom
and criminal procedures. Usually a Judge lets the two sides
fight it out, but this Judge intercedes a lot, asks his own
questions and tries to dominate the trial. That's Judge Breyer.

KFOG: As this appeal progresses, do you think you'll be hurt
by the fact that you're not only a medical marijuana grower,
but have, over the years, been an advocate for the legalization
of Marijuana just...big picture, on the whole.


Ed: Up to now, I think that's really helped me because I've
had some recognition and people realize that I didn't do it
out of a profiteering point of view but I was able to use
lend my expertise to help people who needed some help
in getting started providing their own medicine.

KFOG: Might your case become a poster child for states' rights
and that the Federal Government is gonna have to look closer
at what states vote into law?

Ed: I hope so.

KFOG: Can you see this thing going all the way to the Supreme
Court?

Ed: It might have that kind of legs. Although, there were so
many errors that the Judge and the Prosecutor made that this
case might just be dimissed.

KFOG: You're out on half a million dollars bail? Is that correct?

Ed: It's at half a million dollars bail with a $200,000 bond.

KFOG: How did you get that kind of money, if you don't
mind me asking...

Ed: I mortgaged my house.

KFOG: There's also that website, right?

Ed: Yes, it's
http://www.green-aid.com,
and that tells everything about the trial, what's going on, other
trials in California and elsewhere and it has all kinds of information
about what people can do.

KFOG: You've got a wife and kids. I mean, what do they
make of all of this?

Ed: They're very supportive. They agree with me that what
I did was right. We have no regrets about what they did
because we feel, as a family, we were helping people.

KFOG: Thank you very much. We appreciate your time.
That's for sure. Please keep in touch.

Ed: Great. Thank you very much.

KFOG: Take care.

Posted by Lisa at 07:36 AM
February 05, 2003
More On The Rosenthal Jurors' Furor

Jurors Who Convicted Marijuana Grower Seek New Trial
By Dean E. Murphy for the NY Times.


In an unusual show of solidarity with the man they convicted last week, five jurors in the trial of a medicinal marijuana advocate issued a public apology to him today and demanded that the judge grant him a new trial.

The jurors said they had been unaware that the defendant, Ed Rosenthal, was growing marijuana for medicinal purposes, allowed since 1996 under California state law, when they convicted him on three federal counts of cultivation and conspiracy. He is to be sentenced in June and faces a minimum of five years in prison.

"I'm sorry doesn't begin to cover it," said one of the jurors, Marney Craig, a property manager in Novato. "It's the most horrible mistake I've ever made in my entire life. And I don't think that I personally will ever recover from this."

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/05/national/05POT.html


The New York Times The New York Times National February 5, 2003

Jurors Who Convicted Marijuana Grower Seek New Trial
By DEAN E. MURPHY

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 4 In an unusual show of solidarity with the man they convicted last week, five jurors in the trial of a medicinal marijuana advocate issued a public apology to him today and demanded that the judge grant him a new trial.

The jurors said they had been unaware that the defendant, Ed Rosenthal, was growing marijuana for medicinal purposes, allowed since 1996 under California state law, when they convicted him on three federal counts of cultivation and conspiracy. He is to be sentenced in June and faces a minimum of five years in prison.

"I'm sorry doesn't begin to cover it," said one of the jurors, Marney Craig, a property manager in Novato. "It's the most horrible mistake I've ever made in my entire life. And I don't think that I personally will ever recover from this."

The judge in the case, Judge Charles R. Breyer of Federal District Court, had barred Mr. Rosenthal's defense from mentioning the state law because he was indicted under federal law, which does not allow the growing of marijuana for any purpose.

When he was arrested last February, Mr. Rosenthal was cultivating starter plants in a warehouse that were to be distributed to seriously ill patients by medical marijuana clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mr. Rosenthal, who lives in Oakland, was acting in his official capacity as "an officer of the city" under Oakland's medical marijuana ordinance, Oakland officials said.

In a statement read outside the federal courthouse here, the five jurors, joined by an alternate, said they would not have voted to convict Mr. Rosenthal if they had been allowed to consider the California law. The group said they represented the views of at least two others who had served on the 12-member panel.

"In good faith, we as jury members allowed ourselves to be blindfolded to weigh the evidence before us," the statement said. "But in this trial, the prosecution was allowed to put all of the evidence and testimony on one of the scales, while the defense was not allowed to put its evidence and testimony on the other scale. Therefore we were not allowed as a jury to properly weigh the case."

One by one, the jurors stepped up to a lectern and apologized to Mr. Rosenthal, his wife, Jane Klein, and their daughter, Justine, who stood nearby.

"We as a jury truly were kept in the dark," said Charles Sackett of Sebastopol, who was the jury foreman. "I never want to see this happen again."

In a striking demonstration of how deep the divide remains between federal and California laws on medicinal uses of marijuana, the jurors were joined by the San Francisco district attorney and two members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Eight other states allow the sick and dying to smoke or grow marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.

"This is really a travesty," Matt Gonzalez, the board's president, said of the court's decision to exclude the state law from Mr. Rosenthal's defense. The jurors "have been violated by this court," Mr. Gonzalez said.

Before holding the news conference, the jurors attended a hearing during which the United States attorney's office asked that Mr. Rosenthal's bail be revoked. Judge Breyer, ruled, however, that Mr. Rosenthal was not likely to flee and let him remain free on $200,000 bond pending his sentencing.

Though none of the jurors made their feelings known to the judge at the hearing, where the five of them and the alternate sat at the front of the courtroom, Mr. Sackett said he was certain their presence helped persuade the judge to allow Mr. Rosenthal to remain free.

"We did not say a word," Mr. Sackett said. "We were not disrespectful. We just wanted to make a statement."

Mr. Rosenthal's lawyers said they had filed a motion to have the indictment against Mr. Rosenthal dismissed. If that fails, they said, they will file a motion for a new trial. If that should also fail, the lawyers said, they will appeal the verdict to the United States Court of Appeals.


Posted by Lisa at 05:49 PM
February 04, 2003
Rosenthal Jurors Say They Were Double-Crossed By The Judge

Here's some background on the case. (More)

The Jurors in the Ed Rosenthal Medical Marijuana Growing trail are plenty pissed that U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer manipulated the case in order to secure a conviction.

Jurors Denounce Their Own Verdict
By Ann Harrison for AlterNet.


After she and her fellow jurors found Ed Rosenthal guilty of federal marijuana cultivation and conspiracy charges in San Francisco last week, Marney Craig discovered that that she had made a terrible mistake.

Instead of the "businessman" she thought she had convicted, Craig learned that Rosenthal, was, in fact, a widely published marijuana advocate who had been asked to grow medical cannabis for critically ill patients. The judge had kept this information from jurors, because Rosenthal was tried under federal drug laws that do not recognize the medicinal use of marijuana.

"What happened was a travesty and it's unbelievable, unbelievable that this man was convicted. I am just devastated," said Craig. "We made a terrible mistake and he should not be going to prison for this."

Craig is not alone in her remorse. Five other jurors, including the jury foreman, are expected to join Craig to denounce the verdict in a joint press conference this week. The event will take place immediately after a hearing to determine whether prosecutors will succeed in revoking Rosenthal's $200,000 cash bond and send him to jail until sentencing on June 4. Attorneys for Rosenthal, who is facing five to 20 years in prison, say they will ask an appeals court for a new trial.

"I was not allowed to tell my story," said Rosenthal. "If the jury had been allowed to hear the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, I would have been acquitted."

Juror Debra DeMartini said she was distressed to discover that Rosenthal had been deputized by the city of Oakland, California to grow marijuana for its medical cannabis program. Oakland city officials testified during pre-trail hearings that they had tried to reconcile the conflict between the federal Controlled Substances Act, which bans all marijuana cultivation, and California's Compassionate Use Act (Prop. 215) which permits patients to possess, consume and grow their own medical cannabis.

In an effort to provide medical cannabis to patients who could not grow their own, the city granted Rosenthal immunity from prosecution under a section of the Controlled Substances Act. But U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer halted every attempt by the defense team to directly tell jurors for whom Rosenthal's marijuana was being grown and blocked city officials from explaining Rosenthal's deputization during the trial...
Down at San Francisco City Hall, Matt Gonzalez, president of the city's Board of Supervisors, or city council, said jurors in cases like Rosenthal's should know that they can simply refuse to follow federal law. "The judge is not giving the jury any space, whatsoever, to engage in what has been an extremely long tradition in common law as it relates to jury nullification," said Gonzalez.

Craig said she believed that if she had taken a stand during deliberations and said the federal law was wrong, she would have been removed from the jury. "I didn't know what would happen to us if we didn't follow the rules, how much trouble I would get into," said Craig. "I was totally intimidated into going along with the verdict because I didn't see any other way."

San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi noted that there have been a number of decisions involving jury nullification in which judges have removed jurors who have refused to convict. But he said a jury instruction that permitted this was ruled to be unconstitutional in the last year. "Over the past 20 years, there has been a movement to limit the power of the jury by keeping the jury ignorant of the facts," said Adachi. "Jury nullification is a constitutional right that every individual person who is called for jury duty possesses, and unless we appreciate that right, we will lose it because the courts will take it from us."

In the meantime, Adachi warned that Rosenthal's conviction will encourage federal authorities to arrest more medical cannabis growers and distributors. "The kind of prosecution that we are seeing in the Rosenthal case could be multiplied 50 or 100 times over in the next year or two here," said Adachi.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:


Jurors Denounce Their Own Verdict

By Ann Harrison, AlterNet
February 3, 2003

After she and her fellow jurors found Ed Rosenthal guilty of federal marijuana cultivation and conspiracy charges in San Francisco last week, Marney Craig discovered that that she had made a terrible mistake.

Instead of the "businessman" she thought she had convicted, Craig learned that Rosenthal, was, in fact, a widely published marijuana advocate who had been asked to grow medical cannabis for critically ill patients. The judge had kept this information from jurors, because Rosenthal was tried under federal drug laws that do not recognize the medicinal use of marijuana.

"What happened was a travesty and it's unbelievable, unbelievable that this man was convicted. I am just devastated," said Craig. "We made a terrible mistake and he should not be going to prison for this."

Craig is not alone in her remorse. Five other jurors, including the jury foreman, are expected to join Craig to denounce the verdict in a joint press conference this week. The event will take place immediately after a hearing to determine whether prosecutors will succeed in revoking Rosenthal's $200,000 cash bond and send him to jail until sentencing on June 4. Attorneys for Rosenthal, who is facing five to 20 years in prison, say they will ask an appeals court for a new trial.

"I was not allowed to tell my story," said Rosenthal. "If the jury had been allowed to hear the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, I would have been acquitted."

Juror Debra DeMartini said she was distressed to discover that Rosenthal had been deputized by the city of Oakland, California to grow marijuana for its medical cannabis program. Oakland city officials testified during pre-trail hearings that they had tried to reconcile the conflict between the federal Controlled Substances Act, which bans all marijuana cultivation, and California's Compassionate Use Act (Prop. 215) which permits patients to possess, consume and grow their own medical cannabis.

In an effort to provide medical cannabis to patients who could not grow their own, the city granted Rosenthal immunity from prosecution under a section of the Controlled Substances Act. But U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer halted every attempt by the defense team to directly tell jurors for whom Rosenthal's marijuana was being grown and blocked city officials from explaining Rosenthal's deputization during the trial.

"If I had known that he was told he could grow this by the city, that would have raised some questions for me in front of the judge," said DeMartini. "It's a waste of taxpayer money to bring these cases and prosecute people."

Craig sobbed as she recounted her growing concern during the trial that Judge Breyer was withholding critical information. Craig said she became alarmed when the judge took over questioning of the witnesses, when he repeatedly cut off the defense attorney, and when she saw protest signs in front of the courthouse suggesting that jurors were not fully informed.

"The more information we get, the more we realize how manipulated and controlled the whole situation was, and that we were pawns in this much larger game," says Craig. "As residents, we voted to legalize medical marijuana and now we are forced to sit here and not take any of this into consideration?

"In some sense it is a major setback, and in another it is a call to arms,"said Jeff Jones, executive director of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative, one of the medical marijuana clubs that Rosenthal was growing for.

Rosenthal's trail was attended by a number of medical marijuana patients, many of whom wept when the verdict was announced. Nicholas Feldman, a quadrapalegic cerebral palsy patient who says he smokes medical cannabis to ease the pain and spasticity in his limbs, was one of several people who arrived in court in a wheelchair. "How can they do this to us? People are in pain and it means a lot to us as citizens not to see a person suffer." said Feldman. "I stand here to day for people who could end up in jail for helping to ease my pain."

Despite the emotion surrounding the case, some jurors felt that they had no choice but to follow Judge Breyer's instructions, based on the evidence in front of them. DEA agents testified that they seized thousands of marijuana plants and cuttings at a San Francisco medical marijuana club, and at an Oakland warehouse owned by Rosenthal. But jurors said they distrusted the testimony and based their convictions on video tapes of the marijuana grow sites. They found that Rosenthal conspired with others at the club to to grow not more than 1,000 marijuana plants, as the prosecutor claimed, but more than 100 marijuana plants, a fact which will affect Rosenthal's sentencing. Jurors also found him guilty of growing more than 100 plants at the warehouse and maintaining a place to grow marijuana.

Shortly after the verdict was read, juror Bill Zemke walked solemnly from the courthouse past past two medical marijuana patients who sat weeping. "We considered the evidence in the case, the evidence that we could review, it was not an easy decision," said Zemke evenly. [Medical cannabis] was in the back of everyone's mind, a factor in the case, but it was not in the evidence in this case."

"We have state's rights," shouted the disconsolate patient, "you can't lock all of us up."

Jurors Have Power But Not The City

Jury foreman Charles Sackett agreed with Zemke that jurors came to the only conclusion that they could have, given the information they were provided. But he said he supports medical marijuana and hopes Rosenthal will win his appeal. "The medical issue was not introduced into the court proceedings, it was never an issue for us," said Sackett. "We weren't allowed to discuss it amongst ourselves, ever."

Sackett says he's now intrigued by the idea of jury nullification, which he says none of the jurors was aware of. Jury nullification is a legal principal which allows the jury to find a defendant innocent if the law itself is unjust or unjust in a particular application. Would jurors have taken the option of jury nullification in Rosenthal's case? "It would be speculation on my part, but it's very possible; dare I say, probable," says Sackett. "I think jury nullification is going to be part of the answer regarding states' rights in future cases."

Down at San Francisco City Hall, Matt Gonzalez, president of the city's Board of Supervisors, or city council, said jurors in cases like Rosenthal's should know that they can simply refuse to follow federal law. "The judge is not giving the jury any space, whatsoever, to engage in what has been an extremely long tradition in common law as it relates to jury nullification," said Gonzalez.

Craig said she believed that if she had taken a stand during deliberations and said the federal law was wrong, she would have been removed from the jury. "I didn't know what would happen to us if we didn't follow the rules, how much trouble I would get into," said Craig. "I was totally intimidated into going along with the verdict because I didn't see any other way."

San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi noted that there have been a number of decisions involving jury nullification in which judges have removed jurors who have refused to convict. But he said a jury instruction that permitted this was ruled to be unconstitutional in the last year. "Over the past 20 years, there has been a movement to limit the power of the jury by keeping the jury ignorant of the facts," said Adachi. "Jury nullification is a constitutional right that every individual person who is called for jury duty possesses, and unless we appreciate that right, we will lose it because the courts will take it from us."

In the meantime, Adachi warned that Rosenthal's conviction will encourage federal authorities to arrest more medical cannabis growers and distributors. "The kind of prosecution that we are seeing in the Rosenthal case could be multiplied 50 or 100 times over in the next year or two here," said Adachi.

Despite the warning of coming prosecutions, Rosenthal's attorney Bill Simpich noted that city officials were absent during Rosenthal's trial. While Prop. 215 passed by 78 percent in San Francisco, he said officials have been slow to comply with a recent ballot initiative ordering them to investigate a city-run medical cannabis growing and distribution system.

"'The single biggest thing that hurt us is that we did not have the cities of San Francisco and Oakland by our side," said Simpich. "They were not there and if they had been there we would have won. They made a mistake and the time to correct it is now."

Simpich is calling for California cities and counties to continue immunizing medical cannabis caregivers because the judge's condemnation of this tactic applies only to those cases in front of him. "I'd love to get deputized," said Bob Martin, proprietor of the San Francisco's Compassion and Care Center medical marijuana club. "We are scared every day."

Gonzales says he is still meeting with officials and legal advisers to review the city's options. DEA spokesman Richard Meyer has made it clear that any San Francisco city authority involved growing or distributing medical marijuana will be subject to arrest and property forfeiture.

Craig said she upheld federal law and convicted Rosenthal because she felt she didn't have any choice. But she says that following instructions was no excuse for not acting on her conscience and refusing to convict a medical marijuana grower. "Anyone who said I was just following orders ... well yeah, we just wiped out this village in Viet Nam, we were just following orders, or the Europeans turning away when the Jews were taken away by the Nazis. We are no better than that if we can't take a stand for what we believe in," said Craig.

"I feel like if I had done something in this trial, even if I had been thrown off the jury, it would have made a difference because it would have been on the record that someone said 'No,' and that is something I have to live with."

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Posted by Lisa at 08:16 PM