No Oscars for Medical Marijuana Providers

by Norm Kent, NORML Board of Directors
The morning after the Academy Awards a band of protestors gathered in Los Angeles on the corner of Main Street and Temple St outside the federal courthouse. They were not there for the Oscars. But one day someone will make a movie about the person they were there for. It may be called ‘Inherit the Wind: the Sequel.’
The protestors were marijuana patients and medical use advocates gathering in behalf of one Charles C. Lynch (photo below of Lynch’s medical cannabis dispensary opening), who was convicted in a United States court last summer of operating a medical marijuana dispensary in violation of federal laws. The organizers have no red carpet. They just wanted to draw public attention to Lynch’s case hoping that the 46-year old man does not spend decades in prison for giving medicine to sick people.

California is one of thirteen states in which medical marijuana is legal, but federal law prohibits its use under any circumstances. That means that though Mr. Lynch obeyed local and state laws, he nevertheless became a federal prisoner. That means he is a victim of American injustice at its worst.
Mr. Lynch was convicted at trial, denied under the Federal Rules of Evidence from presenting any testimony whatsoever about medical marijuana, his own city business license, or the California state law he dutifully and righteously obeyed. A jury thus only heard that some man was selling marijuana to line his pockets, and they convicted him, as a San Francisco jury once convicted Ed Rosenthal.
We had another trial like that in America. It was called the Scopes trial, and as I recall, a schoolteacher was prosecuted for teaching science in his class and then denied the right to present testimony regarding evolution at his trial.
On February 4, a White House Spokesman named Nick Shapiro said that President Obama did not want to waste federal law enforcement resources circumventing state medical marijuana laws. Mr. Shapiro opined that he expected the President’s new appointees to consider this when setting policy for their agencies. How about having one of them show up at the sentencing for Mr. Lynch? How about directing the US Attorney to stand down? I am available if they want to send me.
Somewhere in Hollywood, a producer, watching news footage of this honorable protest, will sit in his studio, and remark, ‘This will make a good film.’ Years down the road, a younger version of Sean Penn will accept an Oscar for having portrayed a role about a middle aged man who started a legitimate business dispensing marijuana to sick people. It will show him struggling to open the collective, reaching out to his consumers, helping out his neighbors, and raising his family. Then the scene will switch to federal SWAT agents smashing down his door, arresting him and locking him up. A US Attorney will then put him in jail for violating federal laws. Freed years later, his community will see him as a hero and martyr, not a villain or thief.
While gay people were being beaten mindlessly in alleys for decades, someone may have said the same of Harvey Milk’s inspirational calling in San Francisco for gay rights. But he was not alive for the motion picture. He was gunned down. For Mr. Lynch and his family, there is no time for a movie tomorrow. This is real life. He is being gunned down today.
Unless our President does something, he is going to jail for years. And no academy award will ever remedy that terrible injustice.
Norm Kent is a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale and a member of the NORML Board of Directors, who publishes The Broward Law Blog
Here are some related links, courtesy of Americans for Safe Access:

-White House Statement on Medical Cannabis:
-Drew Carey/Reason TV documentary short on Lynch:
-Recent Los Angeles Times story on the trial:,0,6418930.story
-Friends of Charles C. Lynch website:

0 thoughts

  1. Jake: The finacial crisis IS THE PERFECT REASON to address legalization. As for Lynch being a capitalist, well, we have to fight the legalization battle first. We’ll get to the greedy capitalists eventually. When pot is legal, high grade stuff will cost $100 per ounce, max.

  2. as one other poster suggested. the pot haters are dying off. the ones who remain are becoming subjects of public ridicule.pot smokers are oft finely tuned human beings. in the quest to prove that were not lowlifes, many have become superior human beings to the pot-haters.

  3. FInancial CRISIS my BONG!! Yes we are in a rough spot…….but the list of industries/jobs that could be created–not 2 mention volunteers willing to go to work for little more than a Phatty a shift–why has Reefer not been SERIOUSLY considered to soften; or put a possible boomerang affect on our financial crisis??
    And JOBS create revenue—TAXABLE revenue!! UNCLE SAM; hello?? * knocking on cranium sounds * McFly….is there anybody home.
    Look, man. If the rich get to have huge tax breaks—why can’t I smoke bud???? Is that soooo much to fucking ask!?? well,….I thank I’ma hit the ol’ steamroller right about—–now——–cough

  4. seriously….U want Americans to start spending money again–legalize it—trust me;… dollars will start flying outta consumers pockets. I don’t how the rest of ya’ll are but I’d rather smoke weed than spend money. And nothing gets me to say goodbye to my ca$hola faster than the presence of a big FAT Boo-dah sack.

  5. let’s try the trickle down and around theory, shall we??
    Let me see now :
    First and foremost; WEED—legalize it/sell it(to me)/and TAX it.
    Then, once people have the BooYah, they then need a means by which to intake..inTOKE, actually. There’s more taxable money being spent on Rolling Papers,blunt wraps, and all sorts of pipes,bongs and vaporizers. That equals out to consumer spending(which is what our economy needs right about yesterday). Headshop industry asside tho……..
    Bakeries, see also–delivery/catering/pot party services, bong and pipe cleaning services, advertising(that angle spins off into a whole slew of jobs), Hemp rope/clothing/canvas for art/paper/shoes/shoe laces/ the list goes on….pot lounges-which can create jobs like professional joint roller( a small dream of mine), any and all new medical jobs/positions that would open up & need to be filled as a result of legalization/ bud farmers/ bud breeders/ weed teachers to explain the intricacies of cannabis cultivation/ all the cannabis agricultural supply stores/ the AMERICAN built and operated factories that would produce those goods&supplies/professional bud trimmers(for when the dried goodies are ready for a clipping)/ I could go on…..and on..
    ANYBODY else wanna add to the potentially endless list of new jobs and spinoff industries that could be created….along with all that juicy tax revenue the government COULD be reeling in. Not to mention the obvious fact : LEGALIZATION will cause American consumers to start spending again. Cuz, trust me, the illegal Reefer market ain’t hurting like other consumer markets in the U.S. right about now. The stoner community is still consuming like a big dog last time I checked…….

  6. we should all know when dem’s come in then big brother is loomong over our heads, obama doesn’t care about spending that money as excess it just makes him look better in the eyes of his d.c. cronies. and its not obama you gotta look at, it the f’in congress they make the laws they have the power not obama. this is a ridiculous and most unfortunate situation but as much b.s. its filled with at the end of the day we are mere civilians and are looked down upon by our politcal uppers

  7. KEEP IT LAME cause when its all said and done the states illegal to possess the prices are sick so let U.S stay divided and get united underground and take advantage of the laws.LETS HELP OTHERS AND GET PAID. We can be wise like serpants and gental as doves and protect our lives and help others ect…. We like to talk about change but the reality is everyone is stuck on STUPID and want to bow down to the one who oppresses us.. They do not want us to see outside the box if we dont UNITE we will stay bound in a unforgiving situation in that box ALONE and no one wants to take a loss and FEAR keeps U.S. apart. UNITY would do the world so good PEACE UNTO ALL my Brother’s & Sisters keep the children SAFE an TEACH them right from wrong dont wait on someone else to..
    WAIN aka Jon WAIN, JoN-E-Blaze, AMP, LAYO, PeAdRo, LdubbU,

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