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      Guilty Verdict in First Federal
   Medical Marijuana Trial in 3 Years

TAGS Medical Marijuana Onlinepot Marijuana Case Law Case Law Court Rulings California Legal Research Cannabis Law Suits Attorney General US Supreme Court District Court State Court Marijuana Court Rulings 9th district court US Department Of Justice DEA Drug Lawyers Legal Defenses Case Rulings Pot Legal Defenses

    No Evidence of Medical Use Allowed in Trial
  of Merced County, CA  Medical Marijuana Patient

   A "Rigged Courtroom" A "Rigged Federal Trial" 
     & A "Legally Gagged" Defendant!  Chris

                      Nov 22nd 2006

FRESNO — A jury took less than a day to find a medical cannabis
patient guilty of violating federal marijuana laws. Dustin Costa, 60, a
prominent medical cannabis activist and former Marine, was found guilty
of manufacture of marijuana, possession of marijuana for distribution,
and possession of a firearm. Mr. Costa’s sentencing date has not been
set, but he could face in excess of 20 years in prison. Mr. Costa
indicated he will appeal his conviction to the Ninth Circuit Court.

The federal charges were brought against Mr. Costa only after 18 months
of state court proceedings made it clear to local prosecutors that
California’s medical cannabis law would provide him a defense.

"The conviction of another medical cannabis patient is a senseless
tragedy for all involved," said Steph Sherer, executive director of the
medical cannabis advocacy group Americans for Safe Access. "Imprisoning
patients is an injustice, and shameful when done against the will of
the vast majority of U.S. citizens that support the medical use of

Because of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Raich,
patients like Costa cannot mention the phrase "medical marijuana," let
alone provide a medical defense in federal court. This was the first
federal trial of a medical cannabis patient since the high-profile 2003
conviction of author Ed Rosenthal. In the Rosenthal case, the jury
repudiated their verdict once they learned he was helping patients
under state law. 

The original state marijuana cultivation charges against Mr. Costa,
president of the Merced Patients Group, stemmed from a March 2004
arrest by Merced County Sheriffs following a raid on the greenhouse he
maintained. Since being re-arrested by federal agents on August 10,
2005, Mr. Costa has been held in Fresno County jail. 

Mr. Costa represents the first of nearly a hundred patients and
providers expected to go to trial on arrests that have occurred since Gonzales
v. Raich. More than 90 patients and providers have been arrested
and nearly as many currently await trial in federal court.

# # #

With more than 30,000 active members with chapters and affiliates in
more than 40 states, Americans for Safe Access is the largest national
member-based organization of patients, medical professionals,
scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to
cannabis for therapeutic uses and research.