Jury Ragging: Medical Pot in Federal Courts. (Citings)
Sullum, Jacob, Reason
WHEN ED ROSENTHAL was convicted on federal marijuana cultivation charges last winter, his friends and supporters were not the only ones who were upset. So were the people who convicted him.
"'I'm sorry' doesn't begin to cover it," said one juror. "It's the most horrible mistake I've ever made in my entire life." The foreman said, "We as a jury truly were kept in the dark."
Jurors complained they had not been told that Rosenthal had been growing marijuana in cooperation with the city of Oakland, for patients who are allowed to use it as a medicine under California law. That information was excluded by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer because federal law does not recognize marijuana as a medicine or allow a defense of medical necessity against drug charges. Rosenthal's conviction, which carried a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, was therefore a foregone conclusion.
Seeing the futility of defending themselves in federal court, three officers of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center- Scott Imler, Jeff Yablan, and Jeffrey Farrington- have decided to plead guilty to charges of "knowingly opening and maintaining a place where [marijuana] was manufactured, distributed or used. …