Fate on Hold: Will Medical Marijuana Dispensary Owner Charlie Lynch Go to Jail?
Morro Bay, California medical marijuana dispensary operator Charles Lynch finds himself caught between the old guard and the new guard. While the dispensary he ran was fully legal under state law, he was convicted under federal law last year and faces the prospect of decades in jail–all for helping sick people. Lynch is waiting on his sentence. US Attorney General Eric Holder recently signaled that the Obama administration would break with the Bush administration and prosecute medical marijuana dispensary owners only if they violated both federal and state law. Lynch was convicted during the Bush years, but his sentencing will occur under the new regime. So where would that leave him on his sentencing day–a free man, a lifelong prisoner, something else? It turns out that the man who hold Lynch’s life in his hands isn’t sure how the policy shift should affect sentencing. US District Court Judge George H. Wu postponed his decision until he learns more about the Justice Department’s policy regarding such cases. In this press conference, Charles Lynch and Reuven Cohen, one of his public defenders, answer questions about the man who stands squarely in the middle of the nation’s debate over medical marijuana. Will Lynch be punished for following the law? Or will he be set free from the drug war’s long reach? Produced by Ted Balaker and Alex Manning of Reason.tv.