A prominent advocate of giving chronically sick or dying patients legal access to marijuana was sentenced yesterday in San Francisco to a day in jail for the conviction federal prosecutors won against him for cultivating and distributing the drug, the Washington Post reports.
The case of Ed Rosenthal, 58, has become a symbol of the escalating battle between the federal government and the eight states that have legalized the medicinal use of marijuana. U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer dismissed a recommendation by prosecutors that Rosenthal be sent to prison for at least five years and instead set him free, saying he had served the time.
A federal jury convicted Rosenthal, an author and self-proclaimed “Guru of Ganja,” for growing 100 marijuana plants in an Oakland, Calif., warehouse. “For all practical purposes, Judge Breyer just overturned the federal law banning medical marijuana,” said Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington group that promotes legalizing the drug for medical use.
“It would be unfortunate if anyone misread the ruling today to mean the federal government isn’t going to enforce our laws against drug trafficking,” said Tom Riley of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Marijuana is a dangerous drug.”