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Federal jury convicts Bay Area marijuana author

By Hempology | February 1, 2003

From the Mercury News, January 31, 2003

A federal jury in San Francisco today convicted Oakland marijuana author Edward Rosenthal on three counts of marijuana cultivation and conspiracy.

Rosenthal was prosecuted under federal drug laws and will face a sentence of 10 years to life in federal prison. The verdict came after five days of trial.

Rosenthal, 58, is well known for his books and a regular magazine column on marijuana cultivation to benefit patients who need marijuana to help alleviate medical conditions.

The verdicts were a victory in the federal government’s battle against California’s 1996 voter-approved medical marijuana law. Rosenthal’s arrest last year was among a string of Drug Enforcement Administration raids on medical marijuana suppliers in California.

Deliberating for less then a day, the 12-member jury concluded that Rosenthal, the self-described “Guru of Ganja,” was growing more than 1,000 plants, conspiring to cultivate marijuana and maintaining a warehouse for a growing operation.

Under strict orders from U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, Rosenthal couldn’t tell the jury he was growing marijuana as “an officer” for the city of Oakland’s medical marijuana program.

Voters authorized Oakland’s program and other medical marijuana providers across California under Proposition 215. Eight other states also allow the sick and dying to smoke or grow marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.

But federal authorities do not recognize those laws.

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