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Man facing 100 years in prison for dispensing medical marijuana

Old 06-11-08, 08:00 AM
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Man facing 100 years in prison for dispensing medical marijuana

Yes, I know this is one-sided. Don't bother trying to point that out. But if someone could try and justify this it would be greatly appreciated.

http://reason.com/blog/show/126966.html

Should medical marijuana be kept from minors at all costs? Why is it that pharmacists can dispense amphetamines without getting busted, but legal operators who dispense medical marijuana face prison time? Why do armed federal agents persist in raiding California?

With its sun, surf and small town atmosphere, California's San Louis Obispo County is a good place to grow up. Seventeen-year-old Owen Beck played football and soccer for a local high school, but one day his thoughts abruptly turned away from sports and school. Doctors told Owen he had bone cancer, and would have to begin chemotherapy right away.

The young athlete suffered another blow—doctors would have to amputate his leg to try to keep the cancer from spreading. Chemotherapy attacked Owen's cancer and his body, leaving him bald, gaunt, and vomiting the food he needed to recover. The amputation introduced Owen to a bizarre, new agony called phantom pain, and although doctors gave him powerful medication, nothing helped.

But might a new kind of pharmacy offer new hope? A medical marijuana dispensary had recently opened in the nearby city of Morro Bay. More than a decade earlier, California voters legalized medical marijuana and Morro Bay's mayor and Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the dispensary, and its owner Charlie Lynch.

Owen's parents knew the idea of giving medical marijuana to a 17-year-old strikes many people as scandalous. Local Sheriff Pat Hedges even asserts that allowing medical marijuana is "not in the best interest of a community that prides itself on providing a healthy, family environment."

But the Becks weren't concerned about what other people thought; they were focused on helping their son. So with a written doctor recommendation in hand, they purchased medical marijuana for their teenage son. The new medication eased Owen's pain and nausea like nothing else had, and the Becks grew fond of Charlie Lynch, who would sometimes refuse payment because, says Steve Beck, "He was just a compassionate kind of a guy."

But one day, Owen's life took another abrupt turn. Federal agents and local sheriff deputies raided Charlie Lynch's dispensary, and seized nearly everything inside, including Owen's medicine. "He had a prescription from a doctor at Stanford, and they took his stuff!" says Debbie Beck. Federal agents cuffed Lynch, and put him behind bars. Even though state and local laws allow for it, medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law. And because he had clients like Owen who were under age 21, Charlie Lynch faces heightened penalties. In California the average first-degree murder serves 20 years behind bars; Charlie Lynch could face a sentence as long as 100 years in prison.

The trial of Charlie Lynch begins this July.
Video (featuring Drew Carey!) at the link.
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Old 06-11-08, 08:09 AM
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If I had to guess, I would say that more than half the posters here would be in favor of legalizing marijuana. Too bad we don't have a poll.
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Old 06-11-08, 08:16 AM
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Old 06-11-08, 08:24 AM
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This man is obviously a dangerous criminal. He should probably be executed rather than spend the next 100 years being given free meals and cable TV paid for by decent, hard working taxpayers.
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Old 06-11-08, 08:31 AM
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I bet this hippy got bone cancer on purpose.
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Old 06-11-08, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
This man is obviously a dangerous criminal. He should probably be executed rather than spend the next 100 years being given free meals and cable TV paid for by decent, hard working taxpayers.
+1. We could reduce our federal budget if we just rounded up all these hooligans and shot them in the head. No more prison crowding problems.
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Old 06-11-08, 09:04 AM
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This case is a prime candidate for jury nullification. If enough juries rebelled the feds would have to change tactics.
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Old 06-11-08, 09:32 AM
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Once again another failure of the American justice system.

My own personal belief is legalize it, tax it, and put the money into the community to strengthen the education system or to help subsidize health care or stop poverty. But what do I know.
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Old 06-11-08, 11:05 AM
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My renter who is a medical marijuana guy let his perscription expire. I asked him why. He didn't feel like going back to the clinic (2 hours away) to renew it. Typical stoner.

It would be easier to just legalize it, and I know there are many that use it for pain management, and it is a cheap way to do that, but let's not kid ourselves that it is tightly regulated as a medicine.
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Old 06-11-08, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
but let's not kid ourselves that it is tightly regulated as a medicine.
I agree. This medical marijuana tact is the wrong one to take if legalization or decriminalization is the goal. All it's doing is changing the debate from where it belongs.
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Old 06-11-08, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
My renter who is a medical marijuana guy let his perscription expire. I asked him why. He didn't feel like going back to the clinic (2 hours away) to renew it. Typical stoner.

It would be easier to just legalize it, and I know there are many that use it for pain management, and it is a cheap way to do that, but let's not kid ourselves that it is tightly regulated as a medicine.

you're right, marijuana has never been shown to increase the risks of cardiac arrest and other serious medical conditions, like some of our highly regulated pharmaceuticals.
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Old 06-11-08, 12:33 PM
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i hope that scumbag gets shanked in prison!!!

giving DOPE to CHILDREN!!!

these evil drug peddlers have to be stopped...
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Old 06-11-08, 02:08 PM
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Wait, this doesn't make sense. This guy is not an illegal immigrant. I thought those were all the criminals in California.
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Old 06-11-08, 02:20 PM
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Nothing the federal government says or does about cannabis, medical or otherwise, is sensible. Nothing.

Just ask Marc Emery.
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Old 06-11-08, 02:37 PM
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This is FDR's fault more than anyone else's. When the Supreme Court was planning to delcare his New Deal unconstitutional, he threatened to pack the court with extra justices. Then the court let him keep the New Deal. When the court later ruled against medical marijuana in the 2005 case Gonzales v Raich, their ruling was based on the 1942 New Deal ruling Wickard v Filburn.

In other words, if it weren't for the New Deal, today's "war on drugs" would not be possible.
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Old 06-11-08, 05:52 PM
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Not to comment on the Fed's action in this case (asinine), but marijuana will do nothing to lessen phantom pain. Voice of experience.
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Old 06-11-08, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by crazyronin
Not to comment on the Fed's action in this case (asinine), but marijuana will do nothing to lessen phantom pain. Voice of experience.
To be fair, the effect cannabis has on people is highly subjective. I'm not asserting that it absolutely does help, or trying to diminish your experience, but a number of people do claim that cannabis helps with their phantom pain. I see no reason to doubt them.

Unless the highly cynical want to suggest they just like the high. In any case, I'd say who cares if the net result is still positive - which it almost always seems to be.
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Old 06-11-08, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Nausicaa
To be fair, the effect cannabis has on people is highly subjective. I'm not asserting that it absolutely does help, or trying to diminish your experience, but a number of people do claim that cannabis helps with their phantom pain. I see no reason to doubt them.

Unless the highly cynical want to suggest they just like the high. In any case, I'd say who cares if the net result is still positive - which it almost always seems to be.
I think that can be said about a lot of things. My argument is simple, booze is legal and look at what that causes. (For the record, I do not smoke pot anymore, however I do feel any consenting adult who wants to, should have the right and we should tax them for it.)
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Old 06-11-08, 11:09 PM
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Guy did something illegal and got busted. Don't do/see drugs = don't get arrested. This method has been working great for me!

Really - why is getting high so important to some people?
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Old 06-11-08, 11:23 PM
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If anyone thinks that he will actually be sentenced to 100 years in prison for this, I feel you are sadly mistaken. If he does any prison time whatsoever, it will probably not be much and he will be released on probation with a suspension of whatever license he had to dispense marijuana for medical purposes.

I hate when articles say someone faces an extraordinary amount of time in prison, well beyond a typical lifespan. It is done for shock value, clearly. I imagine the actual legal standard is a few years in prison (if that) and since he did it so many times the 100 years was a sum of each individual offense's punishment.

In any case, and though I imagine we aren't trying to steer this towards a debate of should it or should it not be legalized, I still feel worth stating (as others have) that the government should legalize it and tax it. Actually, I don't think the Federal Government has any business in the affair, to be perfectly honest. I say we let each state decide on its own whether or not to make it legal. But as far as its legality is concerned, I see no reason why Alcohol and Cigarettes/Tobacco Products, which are more harmful to their users, should be legal while marijuana remains illegal.
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Old 06-12-08, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by cpgator
Guy did something illegal and got busted. Don't do/see drugs = don't get arrested. This method has been working great for me!

Really - why is getting high so important to some people?
Lose a leg (or two) and then come back and post about pain and how the government has a right to tell you what plants are legal and which ones are not.

For many it's about getting high, but for those who don't want to take Methadone or other drugs which really fuck up your mind and body--and are legal, Marijuana is a simple plant which solves a lot of problems. Whether or not they feel "real" pain is really not my problem, nor should it be. As long as they don't infringe on me, why should I care? Why should you care? Why should the government care?
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Old 06-12-08, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by cpgator
Guy did something illegal and got busted. Don't do/see drugs = don't get arrested. This method has been working great for me!

Really - why is getting high so important to some people?
Well, he wasn't breaking California law. As written, the laws are contradictory and confusing. What exactly is government's position on cannabis if you are a resident of California?

And, "getting high" is so important to some people because it serves a highly useful and unique medical purpose for many people dealing with severe illnesses. People like Charlie Lynch risk a lot to provide them with medicine they believe in.

For the rest of us, it's as important or not important as drinking alcohol. People enjoy using intoxicants, but some of us would prefer to use one that doesn't severely impair our judgement, make us feel like shit, and potentially cause serious health complications. What some racist blowhard thought would be best for me 80 years ago, or a slimy politician thought 40 years later, has no effect on my decision.
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Old 06-12-08, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by cpgator
Guy did something illegal and got busted. Don't do/see drugs = don't get arrested. This method has been working great for me!

Really - why is getting high so important to some people?
If you can't understand the fundamental right to choose how you medicate your own illness, or the clear separation of powers between Federal and State governments in our constitution, or simply the inherent right to live as you see fit so long as you aren't harming anyone else - well I doubt you'll ever get it.

If you had an illness to which the only 'legal' treatments were ineffective and painful, and an alternative existed that could raise your quality of life - would you want the freedom to choose it? Do you think you should have the final say in that matter, or some bureaucrat or politician?

The war on drugs is the biggest farce of the modern era and it will continue so long as people view it in such myopic and binary terms.
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Old 06-12-08, 10:08 AM
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I'm in favor of legalization yadda. He broke current federal law yadda. He knew he was taking his chances yadda. I support a return to states rights to prevent just this sort of thing yadda. But wait, without powerful federal oversight, then some states would be able to infringe on some federally granted civil rights etc yadda. Yeah, sucks to not be able to have it both ways, doesn't it yadda.
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Old 06-12-08, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by cpgator
Really - why is getting high so important to some people?
You can hear that question echoing through thousands of years of man's existence. Talk about rhetorical!
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