Calif. Judge Asks Fed for Clarification in Medical Marijuana Case

    Sentencing of a California man convicted in a medical-marijuana case has been postponed while the judge seeks guidance from the Department of Justice, the New York Times reported March 23.

    Judge George H. Wu said Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.'s recent statement that federal authorities would not seek to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries if the operations complied with state and local laws created confusion about sentencing in the case.

    “[Wu] said he needed an explanation, and he needed it from the Department of Justice, not the local prosecutor,” said Reuven Cohen, a lawyer for the defendant, Charles Lynch. In August 2008, Lynch was convicted on five counts related to running a dispensary and selling medical marijuana to customers under 21 — considered minors under federal drug law. Lynch faces a minimum sentence of five years in federal prison.

    Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, said that Lynch also violated state laws by selling marijuana for use by minors. “But this case involves a violation of federal law, and that's really all that matters,” Mrozek said.

    The sentencing hearing has been postponed until April 30.

    By Partnership Staff
    March 2009


    March 2009