Charles Lynch, a key figure in the national debate over medical marijuana, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison by a federal judge in Los Angeles Thursday. Lynch was convicted last year of illegally distributing pot from a dispensary in Morro Bay, California, despite the fact that what he was doing was legal under state law -- but banned by federal law. Here's what marijuana advocates, Lynch and others are saying about the sentencing:
"It's not really a victory. In a way it's a loss, but not a bad loss."
-- Charles Lynch
We can appeal to the man who can bring us some Change We Can Believe In, President Obama, who in the stroke of a pen can commute Charles Lynch’s sentence... Mr. Lynch would remain convicted and retain a criminal record, but he would be spared of any prison time. Or President Obama could do the truly honorable thing and pardon Mr. Lynch... absolving him of any conviction or prison time.
-- Russ Belville, Outreach Coordinator, NORML
"Fortunately, the judge saw through the federal government's argument that Lynch deserved five years in prison, and instead sentenced him to the least amount of time he could. Recognizing that Lynch had not violated any state or local laws, the judge was lenient despite the protestations of the federal government."
-- Joe Elford, Chief Counsel, Americans for Safe Access
“I find I cannot get around the one-year sentence.”
-- Judge George Wu said of federal sentencing laws.
“He is caught between California’s voter-approved medical marijuana system and the Bush administration’s single-minded effort to smother it...That Attorney General Holder changed federal policy three months ago only makes this miscarriage of justice all the more disturbing. Charlie is like a forgotten prisoner of war, abandoned after a truce was declared.”
-- Drug Policy Alliance's Stephen Gutwillig to the New York Times.