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Guru of Ganja Convicted In Med-Pot Test Case

Guru of Ganja Convicted In Med-Pot Test Case

NZ Med-Pot Patient On Trial February 10.

NORML NZ President Chris Fowlie said today that there is no justice in the US-led war on cannabis. Mr Fowlie's comment came after learning that US NORML co-founder, NZ NORML member and 'guru of ganja' Ed Rosenthal has been found guilty of medicinal cannabis cultivation charges.

Mr Fowlie had met Ed Rosenthal in San Francisco in April last year, shortly after his arrest, when both activists attended the 2002 NORML conference. Mr Fowlie said that at the time Mr Rosenthal seemed "upbeat and confident of a positive outcome".

Mr Rosenthal joined New Zealand NORML and presented Mr Fowlie with an autographed copy of his latest book, "The Big Book of Buds" (now banned in New Zealand).

Mr Rosenthal was convicted on Saturday in a San Francisco federal court of marijuana cultivation and conspiracy charges. He faces a maximum life sentence despite the fact that he was growing the plants for the city of Oakland's medical marijuana programme and was doing nothing illegal under California state law.

"This was a loaded trial", said Mr Fowlie. "Prosecutors portrayed Ed Rosenthal as a major drug dealer, and federal judge Beyer prevented defence attorneys from presenting evidence that Ed was growing marijuana as a medicine for seriously sick people, that California state law allows this, that the City of Oakland had duly authorised him as an officer to grow marijuana for the city's medical marijuana dispensaries, or anything at all about the medical uses of marijuana.

"The US Federal Government - like some of our own Members of Parliament - refuse to acknowledge that marijuana has been safely used for thousands of years as a medicine with incredible therapeutic value. "They don't want people to make up their own minds and would rather continue the "reefer madness" lie that marijuana is dangerous killer drug."

"While they lie, we suffer," said Mr Fowlie. "The cannabis inquiry continues to languish before the Health Select Committee, and the New Zealand police keep on arresting and prosecuting medical marijuana patients.

"The latest medical marijuana patient to be put on trial by police is Waikato NORML member Matt Sullivan, who faces possible imprisonment for cultivation, possession of growing lights and, even more bizarrely, allowing his house to be used for the misuse of drugs. Mr Sullivan will fight these charges during his trial on February 10 in the Huntly District Court. We call upon the police to drop these vexatious charges, and failing that, we hope the local judge will show more compassion than the American system allowed for Ed Rosenthal," said Mr Fowlie

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